Not only are customers reducing their food expenditures, but some food retailers believe that they are actually buying less food, not merely cheaper edibles. Observers believe that shoppers are being less wasteful.
From the Independent:
Food sales in Britain have fallen for the first time in more than 20 years, as customers tighten their belts.
The grim retail sales figures from the Office for National Statistics came as DSGi, the owner of the Currys and PC World chains, and the sports retailer Sports Direct posted dire sales.
The data shed further light on theaccelerating speed of the consumerrecession as retailers hurtle towards what is expected to be one the worst Christmas trading periods for 30 years.
The ONS said that sales volumes in predominantly food stores, from butchers to the big supermarkets, fell 0.1 per cent for the three months to September, compared to the same period last year. This is first time they have entered negative territory since 1986.
While it is widely acknowledged that some consumers are switching to own-label products and discounters Aldi and Lidl, the figures suggest people are actually cutting back on the amount of food they eat.
Mark Hudson, the lead consultant for the UK retail and consumer sector at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that hard-pressed consumers are cutting down not only on expensive food and treats but also the amount of food they waste. “It is an indicator of how tough it is starting to get,” Mr Hudson said.