Inflation hits record 16.7%, with own-label shopping continuing to rise and promotions falling further
After a short-lived dip at the end of 2022, grocery price inflation rose to a record 16.7% in the four weeks to 22 January 2023 – the highest level since Kantar started tracking the figure in 2008.
Overall take-home grocery sales increased by 5.7% during the four-week period and by 7.6% in the 12 weeks to the same date.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “Late last year, we saw the rate of grocery price inflation dip slightly, but that small sign of relief for consumers has been short-lived.
“Grocery price inflation jumped a staggering 2.3 percentage points this month to 16.7%, flying past the previous high we recorded in October 2022.
“Households will now face an extra £788 on their annual shopping bills if they don’t change their behaviour to cut costs.”
Amid record inflation, supermarkets are seeking alternative ways to offer customers value and according to McKevitt, competition in the British grocery sector is as intense as it’s ever been as retailers strive to retain shoppers.
“The grocers have been doing this by boosting their own-label ranges especially,” he said, “with sales of these lines growing consistently over the past nine months. January was no exception as own-label lines grew by 9.3%, well ahead of branded alternatives which were up by just 1%.
“Across the market, the move is towards everyday low pricing, with many supermarkets offering price matching and using their loyalty schemes to help shoppers save.
“As a result of this push, the proportion of spending on promotions has fallen to its lowest level since at least 2008 this month, exaggerating the usual post-Christmas drop off in deals.”
In terms of consumer satisfaction, Aldi, Waitrose and Lidl fared best, according to Kantar data. Aldi scored best on pricing and overall value for money, while Waitrose stood out for knowledgeable staff, product quality and clean shops. Meanwhile, Lidl delivered on easy access to stores and on-shelf availability.
Despite price rises, many consumers embraced the usual focus on health and fitness that January brings. Kantar sales data clearly showed the impact of Dry January, as no and low-alcohol beer volumes increased by 3% on last year’s levels.
In addition, sales of supermarket own-label ranges labelled as plant-based or vegan rose by 21%, largely driven by existing shoppers of the category rather than new converts.
McKevitt noted that alongside the pull factor of events like Veganuary, the push element of new regulations on HFSS food and drink could also be having an impact.
Some £10 million less was spent on chocolate deals this January compared with last year, partially as a result of the new retail rules and partly as a result of the wider drop in promotions.
Aldi was the fastest-growing grocer for the fourth month in a row, with sales 26.9% higher year on year. It now holds 9.2% of the market. Lidl’s sales jumped by 24.1%, putting its market share at 7.1%.
There was little to split Britain’s three largest retailers. Sainsbury’s sales increased by 6.1%, just 0.1% higher than Asda and Tesco, giving it 15.4% of the market. Tesco remains the largest British retailer with a 27.5% market share, while Asda holds 14.2%.
Although its sales fell by 1.9%, Morrisons’ performance has continued to improve for the 11th month in a row and its market share now stands at 9.1%.
Iceland’s share increased by 0.1% to 2.5%, driven by an annual sales rise of 10.6%.
Ocado matched the market’s growth rate at 7.6%, well above overall online sales which were down 0.7%.
Convenience specialist Co-op has a 5.5% share of the market, and Waitrose accounts for 4.7% of total sales.