Supermarket Shopping – Be Wise!
Falling supermarket profits are in the news again today and this time it’s Tesco who have reported a 6% fall in profit. Their profit was still a whopping £3.3bn, a little down on last year’s £3.5bn which was their first drop in in 20 years.
It is also reported that the UK’s big four supermarkets, namely Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons have all lost a share in the market due to rival discount supermarkets Aldi, Lidl and B&M.
So why has this happened?
Some think that the reduction in Tesco’s profits are due to people comparing grocery prices online and then choosing which supermarket to buy their weekly shop from. I think this may have a little to do with it, but in my opinion, it’s due to a shift in shopping habits. The public are shopping more at the big discount stores such as Aldi and Lidl, and also, more people are buying their fresh produce locally as was always done in the past!
Of course, with food scandals hitting the headlines regularly, whether it be horse meat substituted for beef, incorrectly labelled origins for fish or misleading adverts and special offers, the public have grown suspicious and lost trust in the supermarket they thought they could count on for value.
I think the trend in discounted supermarkets is happening despite how much money people have in their bank accounts. Who would want to pay more for an everyday food item when the Lidl or Aldi is just down the road? For example, 6 large free range eggs from Aldi cost £1.00, the same large free range eggs from Tesco and Sainsbury’s are £1.30 (today’s online prices). An 800g loaf of thick sliced bread just 75p from Aldi and £1- £1.40 from the other four supermarkets.
A few pence saved here and there will add up to several pounds for a weekly shop! After all, nobody is going to get rich by spending more cash than they need to. If you go to Aldi, Lidl or B&M – have a look at the cars in the car park and you may be surprised. Not all their customers are scratching around to make ends meet!
It seems that a lot of people shop at the discount stores first, then go to one of the other big four supermarkets to buy anything on their shopping list that they couldn’t find in the first one! My husband and I have actually recognized shoppers going to two supermarkets on the same morning! Just goes to show that grabbing the bargains are more important than being loyal to any particular store.
The British used to get embarrassed at the thought of being seen shopping in one of these big discount shops – but not anymore. The newspapers are always full of stories about wages and inflation, food banks, recycling food and so on. Perhaps the stigma is disappearing (which it needs to) and friends feel quite happy bumping into one another in these cheap supermarkets and discussing the fantastic savings they’ve made!
There is also a “Shop Local” trend which is slowly but surely starting to make people think about going to their local butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers, bakers and markets. I am fortunate to have a number of small local shops nearby and I’m often amazed at the price difference and quality of these shops. When I say “price difference” I mean that they are cheaper than the supermarkets! They supply local, quality food and their special offers really are special! There are no psychological selling games, for example, red banners waving BUY ONE GET ONE FREE (when half the time, the goodies not on offer in the supermarket are cheaper anyway!) or placing the cheapest produce so low down on the shelves that that the shopper has to practically kneel down to see what’s for sale!
A large number of “local suppliers” now market their produce on line and will deliver within the vicinity for a small fee or sometimes free. Some of these suppliers advertise the fact that their produce is cheaper than the supermarket. I’m all for this!
So what will happen in the future? Price wars and more price wars as the big supermarkets try to compete with each other. I’m sure basic food items will become cheaper. But the supermarkets need to make big profits, so where will they make their money? I expect it will be on processed food, ready meals and imported food.
If you cook from scratch already then you’ll be a winner and if not, time to start cooking! By doing this, food bills can be reduced greatly and the thought of knowing where the food came from and what’s in it is very comforting! Buy your basic store cupboard items from the big discounters and all your fresh ingredients locally.
Why not have a go at growing a few veggies? You don’t even need a garden. Have a go at growing some vegetables in pots or grow bags, or if you like the thought of larger scale food production then look into renting an allotment which are becoming more and more popular again. An allotment is a cheap way to grow food, it is good exercise and you will meet like-minded people who want to grow their own too. If you’d like to find out more about allotments, get in touch with your local authority. I have heard that waiting lists for allotments have gone down recently and this is mostly due to more land becoming available due to demand. Great news, again!
Read my articles on “How to shop wisely in the supermarket” and “Beware of the Bargains”. I have listed a number of shopping tips which should help to reduce the cost of your food bills.
My recipe books will help you to cook from scratch and the Kindle versions are only £1.99 so shouldn’t break the bank and, after all, Every Little Helps!