The 2013 How Britain Eats!™ report from Allegra Strategies surveys over 1,200 nationally represented UK consumers, exploring shopping, cooking and eating behaviours, and making essential reading for all food industry leaders. The report delivers insight into influences and trends that are key to understanding consumer behaviour on what food is eaten at home and when deciding to eat out. Allegra Strategies last week hosted an exclusive debrief of the 2013 How Britain Eats!™ report for Food Strategy Forum members.
Importance of provenance and transparency
The 2013 report highlights that there is continued importance of Britishness in both eating in and eating out behaviour following on from the long-lasting legacy of the summer of 2012, but also as a result of the horsemeat scare at the start of this year, as consumers seek greater transparency. Along with the key consumer drivers of value and quality, they want to know where their food is coming from and are on the lookout for quality assurance marks such as Red Tractor.
Allegra Strategies, Anya Marco, Director of Insights commented: “Consumers have more choice than ever before and recognise that when prices are low, quality can be compromised and therefore provenance and transparency are key for both supermarkets and eating out operators.”
Consumers’ spending habits
With regards to consumers’ food spending habits, a third of UK consumers say that they are living comfortably, managing their food expenses without significant difficulty whilst nearly half of consumers now state they are coping with increases in food expenditure. However, there is still evidence that consumers are experiencing difficulty as 1 in 6 UK adults state they are still struggling. As a result Consumers are undertaking smaller, more frequent shops in order to help them manage.
An increase in overall inflation of 2.7% in the UK, with upward pressure from food inflation of 4.1%, has noticeably driven the weekly food bill up. On average, consumers are spending £74.55 per week with 59% of them noticing an increase in spend. The majority believe that their spend on food has increased by at least 5% in the last 12 months. As a result consumers are making greater use of special offers and discounts, and are trading down to cheaper brands to make their money go further.
Polarisation of grocery stores
The polarisation of grocery stores is evident in consumer visit share, with both premium stores and discounters growing share at the expense of the bigger, mainstream chains. Of The Big 4 grocery chains, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons are flat lining or showing decline in market share and visit, whilst Sainsbury’s is showing a slight increase as a result of its Hi-Lo Pricing strategies and focus on quality. Waitrose has increased its share significantly from 4.5% in 2012 to 6% in 2013.
Lidl and Aldi have increased their combined share of consumer visits, rising to 6.8% in 2013, increasing from 5.7% in 2012.
Interest in food is continuing to be more prevalent in the UK as seen with the continued rise of ‘Aspirational Gourmets’: this year, 28% of consumers state they love to cook and are always looking for new challenges with food , compared with only 25% in 2012.
This migration of consumers is continuing, although the ‘Disinterested Refuellers’ (those who lacked confidence in cooking or had no interest at all) is stabilising at 13% of the population. ‘Functional Providers’ have migrated into ‘Pragmatic Foodies’ in showing an increasing interest in food, especially as we see more media coverage which infiltrates into consumers’ eating behaviour.
As a cautious note for the eating out sector, the ‘Aspirational Gourmets’ tend to eat out slightly less frequently, however they do spend more, whereas the ‘Disinterested Refuellers’ eat out with greater frequency but tend to spend less.
British cuisine is now the nation’s favourite both in and out of the home, with the nation’s favourite meal being the roast dinner, particularly chicken.
Italian is no longer the favourite cuisine out of home, dropping below British for the first time. However, Italian cuisine continues to have a place in our hearts, as Spaghetti Bolognese is still the most frequently cooked meal in UK homes.
How will Britain eat?
Sustainability, ethics and healthier eating have all been oven taken by one key demand by consumers – transparency. The Food industry now has to make a conscious and public move from stating that they have nothing to hide, to a position of proactively demonstrating full and complete transparency.
As to the future, with more consumers becoming more interested in food and cuisines, travelling more widely, and with greater influence emanating from the media’s coverage of food, these developing palates will need to be served by a growing range of ingredients in supermarkets and restaurants, making previously unheard of products mainstream, and therefore expected both in and out of the home.
The 2013 How Britain Eats!™ report
The full, final report was launched on 29 September 2013. The report is produced for members of Allegra’s Food Strategy Forum, but is also available for purchase.
For more information please contact: Simon Stenning, Foodservice Strategy Director, Allegra Strategies
+44 (0) 20 7691 8800
About Allegra Strategies
Allegra Strategies is a London-based strategic research consultancy recognised as a global leader in the foodservice and coffee shop sector. Allegra Strategies’ leading-edge research and thinking assists growing companies to develop and improve performance.
About the Food Strategy Forum
The Food Strategy Forum is a membership organisation providing members with Thought Leadership, Analysis, Market Data, Consumer Insight and Market Intelligence, through an annual program of debriefs, debates, reports and study tours. Members cover the breadth of the UK foodservice market including, Sodexo, Whitbread, M&S, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Brakes, Compass, Greene King, SoloCup, Nestle, 3663, Debenhams, Kates Cakes, Punch Taverns, Britvic, Fullers, and Mitchells and Butlers.