UK shoppers began stocking up on some essentials such as cooking oil as grocery price inflation hit its highest level in more than a decade in April.
According to the latest survey by market analyst Kantar, supermarket shoppers were preparing for limited availability of some products as well as higher prices, as the war in Ukraine raised public awareness of supply pressures and the prices were raised.
Cooking oil sales were up 17% in the year from April 2021, with sunflower oil – Britain’s most popular choice for frying – up 27% and vegetable oil sales by 40%.
Food prices rose 5.9% in the three months to April 17 from the same period a year earlier, the highest level since December 2011 and the latest sign that household budgets are taking a hit. increasing pressure due to the cost of living crisis.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insights at Kantar, said the average household faces potential grocery price increases totaling £271 a year. “Much of this is happening on non-discretionary day-to-day essentials which will prove difficult to scale back as budgets get tight. We are seeing a clear flight to value as buyers watch their pennies,” McKevitt said.
“Last weekend, several supermarkets introduced restrictions on cooking oil purchases as worried consumers filled their cupboards.”
Retailers have started to respond to demand with Tesco introducing a limit of three bottles of oil per customer last week after Morrisons and Waitrose limited purchases to two per person.
Overall, however, sales of eat-at-home items declined as workplaces, cafes and restaurants reopened.
Only Aldi and Lidl increased sales – taking their joint market share to 15.4% from 5.5% a decade ago – as more than a million additional shoppers searched for a way to offset rising prices. price by visiting one of the discounters. Aldi sales rose more than 4% to its highest market share ever at 8.8% as the German company continues to gain ground in the UK’s fourth largest supermarket chain United, Morrisons. Lidl confirms its position as the sixth chain with 6.6% of the market ahead of Co-op.
Tesco was the only other retailer to gain market share during the period, growing 0.3 percentage points to hold 27.3% of total grocery sales despite falling sales from nearly by 5%.
Online grocery sales were down almost 15% from 2021 as confidence in going to stores returned and fewer people were working from home and therefore able to easily accept deliveries .
in its latest expansion offer, Lidl is offering a finder’s fee to members of the public who successfully identify suitable new sites. The company, which says it is looking for sites in 13 UK cities including Bristol, Derby, Liverpool, Manchester and London, is offering either 1.5% of the full freehold purchase price or 10% of the first year’s rent for leases, equivalent to £22,500. for a site purchase of £1.5m.