Less ham and more mortadella, white marks… this is how the price crisis has changed the way of buying in supermarkets

Pay 620 euros more than a year ago for the basket leads consumers to change their habits when they go to the supermarket. The exorbitant prices of products as basic as oil, milk or eggs have left households with no choice but to look for new habits to reduce food expenditure, which in June increased to 12.9% -there is still no data available for July-.

The latest figures from National Institute of Statistics (INE)which reflect the evolution of the prices of goods and services consumed by the population residing in family homes in Spain, indicate that dozens of products in the most common basket have become more expensive, even above the General CPI of 10.8% in July, the highest in 38 yearsas was the case for eggs (23.9%), milk (23.1%), fruits (19.3%)beef (13.1%) or fish (11%), among others.

From the Spanish Association of Distributors, Supermarkets and Supermarkets (ASEDAS), the association of supermarket employers, which brings together 75% of the food commercial area in Spain and includes companies such as Mercadona, DIA and Lidl, its general manager, Ignacio García Magarzo, has already pointed out that distribution companies already appreciate that “the consumer begins to behave like a consumer crisis” before price escalation resulting from increased costs.

This means that citizens are no longer buying as they did before the start of the inflationary spiral. They changed the way they stock the fridgechoosing to reduce their consumption, buy cheaper products or bet on other brands, as corroborated by various sources in the food sector.

Less food is purchased

In the first five months of the year, the purchase of food in volume by Spanish households decreased by 11% compared to the same period of the previous year, according to what was revealed on Thursday by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas.

Planas attributed the drop in purchases in 2022 to traditional January cost, price levels and the “progressive awareness” of households, restaurants and the food chain on food loss and waste.

The Head of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food also indicated that purchases have become “more selective”with fewer supermarket purchases, but with a greater preference for quality.

Greater preference for white label

Other actions consumers are taking to save are increasing consumption of private label (private label) brands, better known as White marks and generally cheaper.

According to data from the consulting firm Nielsen IQ, corresponding to the month of June, private labels already represent nearly half of food sales. Specific, its level has already reached 49.4%, up 2.5 percentage points from May, after posting 17.1% growth in spending, while manufacturer brands grew 7.9%. These latter they reduce their share to 50.6%.

We shop more often

Consumers are also choosing to shop more often, replacing large baskets with smaller ones. The increase in frequency is done to control expenses, therefore purchase receipts are smaller.

This way you will buy what you need at that time and avoid buying unnecessary products or they end up being thrown away at the end. This behavior also allows us to be more aware of the offers that the different establishments usually offer and with which we can save.

Less ham and more mortadella

In these belt-tightening times, supermarket customers are substituting certain products for cheaper ones. It’s a trend that consumer advisors have already detected and which is common to all crisis situations: the consumer’s preference for more basic products, leaving aside others with higher added value.

For example, in charcuterie, items such as serrano ham or loin they are replaced by mortadella or chopped. According to forecasts, this trend should increase after the summer holidays.

However, this does not happen with all products. Javier Bardesresponsible for fruit and vegetables in Alcampo, assured in a recent public act that these two foods will not notice this alteration as much because they are “essential products”.

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