Shoppers switching to cheaper labels as food costs stay high

Photo: Depositphotos

Householders are pruning their shopping lists and switching to supermarkets’ own brands as they feel the pinch of inflation, research shows.

The average monthly grocery bill has levelled off at around €132 in recent months and is currently 2% higher than a year ago, market research agency GfK found.

But the trend has more to do with shifting spending habits than falling prices, even though overhead costs such as energy have come down since last year.

“Energy prices are lower, but supermarkets and suppliers are tied into fixed contracts,” researcher Eric Harmsen said. “So prices remain high for the time being.”

Some basic foodstuffs have risen in price as a result of poor harvests during a wet autumn. The prices of sugar is 50% higher, which has a knock-on effect on a range of products, while kitchen roll, oil and dry cat food are all notably more expensive.

Harmsen said the survey of 55 basic items showed that many shoppers had responded by switching to more affordable brands, including supermarkets’ own labels.

“Since the start of high inflation in-house labels have made up a lot of ground, because households are on the lookout for cheaper alternatives,” he said.

“We are now spending the same amount on shop’s own brands as premium labels. It looks as if the proportions have changed permanently.”

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