Food sales fall by 1.1% amid cost of living crisis


Food store sales fell by 1.1% in March 2022 and has continuously fallen since November 2021, the latest set of data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

According to the government’s statistics body, the dip in grocery spending has correlated with higher spending in pubs and restaurants as coronavirus restrictions have been lifted.

Additionally, rising food costs may have affected the decrease in grocery shopping as soaring inflation continues to squeeze household budgets.

READ MORE: Nestlé warns of further price rises as inflation soars

Supermarkets have also reported a 0.9% decrease in sales volume this March, specialist food stores including butchers and bakeries have experienced a fall of 0.7%, and alcohol and tobacco stores have seen a sharp fall of 11.3%.

Data on UK spending on debit and credit cards also reported a rise in “social” spending in restaurants or pubs which could partly explain the dip in grocery spending.

However, results from the ONS’ opinions and lifestyle survey from 16 to 27 March also revealed 87% of adults reported the cost of living had increased over the last month.

Of the 87%, 88% explained that they felt the cost of living had increased due to the rise of food shopping prices.

The news comes as food and drink inflation has reached 5.9% in the year to March, reaching its “highest rate for over a decade”.

“We’re at the beginning of a new phase of the pandemic exit – where 30-year-high increases in inflation are starting to impact consumers more than their desire to return to pre-pandemic activities they missed,” McKinsey senior partner Jessica Moulton said.

“Our research shows nearly all consumers are noticing that prices are up, especially in grocery. And, it is starting to impact their spending.”

Moulton added: “Consumer will need to weigh-up their desire to travel and eat out, as rising inflation could put protracted pressure on discretionary spending.”

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