Why Canned Foods Are On The Rise Across Britain

Cooking with fresh ingredients is usually ideal, but lately shoppers across Great Britain have been settling for processed foods instead. With inflation at a 40-year high and the cost of living continuing to worsen, shopping habits are changing, Reuters reports. According to Simon Roberts, the CEO of Sainsbury's, Britain's second largest supermarket, customers are making more frequent trips to the store, but aren't buying as much as they normally do.

The items they do buy, Retail Gazette shares, are limited to mainly the canned and frozen food categories. Data collected by NielsenIQ shows that frozen poultry sales have jumped to 12%, rice and grains have increased to 11%, and canned beans and pasta have risen to 10%, as have canned meat and gravy. The reason for this, Retail Gazette explains, is that people are wanting to save money where they can. Whereas fresh meat and produce will wilt or go bad after a while, processed foods not only have a much longer expiration date, they're also a lot more affordable on a tight budget.

Retailers are adapting to new shopping habits

British shoppers might be buying more canned and frozen food than usual, but that doesn't mean they're spending more on their groceries. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Supermarket chain Asda, told BBC that with food prices so high, customers typically won't spend any more than £30 on each grocery trip. This ultimately translates to lower profits for major retailers like Asda, with volume sales of grocery stores in the U.K. recently hitting a low of 5.5%, according to NielsenIQ (via Retail Gazette).

With inflation out of their control, all grocery stores can do to recoup profits is maintain customer loyalty. To go about it, Roberts shared to Reuters that chains are employing strategies they learned from the 2008 recession. For Sainsbury's that means offering price matching and re-introducing the "Feed Your Family for a Fiver" campaign. Given the state of the economy, people will likely continue buying more canned foods over fresh ones, so where they decide to shop creates plenty of competition for retailers that are struggling just as much.