New year leads grocery shoppers to focus on healthier options in January
Woman in grocery store along with her son

New year leads grocery shoppers to focus on healthier options in January

Following a highly price-driven December, grocery sales increased by +3.3% in January. Not only did shoppers spend more, but they bought more items as they experimented with healthier food categories.

Volume growth in fresh produce was up +1.5% during the last four week period ending 26 January. Shoppers spent over £900m on fresh fruit and vegetables, over £27m more than this time last year. With healthier eating on the minds of many shoppers, sales of broccoli increased (+15%), as did beetroot (+14%), Brazil nuts (+13%) and blueberries (+10%).*

As Free From ranges have continued to expand and offer greater choice, we can see that shoppers are buying more of these products with sales up +17% in January.* The choice available in larger supermarkets also encouraged shoppers to further experiment and add new products to their baskets in the quest for healthy eating.

The volume increase in the frozen food category (+3.7%) also revealed changing consumer shopping habits, as shoppers explore more ways to save money while still eating healthy.

The increase in grocery spend across the fresh and frozen food categories are a testament to evolving shopping trends. The start to the new year has consumers focused on positive diet changes which are not just healthy, but convenient, cheap and are less wasteful overall.  However, we can see caution creeping in as consumer confidence dipped at the end of 2018 by four points to 98, back to the level last seen in 2017.** This will take some time to impact on grocery spend and we still anticipate industry growth of around +2.5% over the first four months of the year.”

Looking at retailer performance over the last 12-week period, three of the top 4 supermarkets are in growth. Tesco leads with 26.8% market share, followed by Sainsbury’s at 14.9%, Asda at 14% and Morrisons at 9.9%.

Table: 12-weekly % share of grocery market spend by retailer and value sales % change


All figures are from Nielsen Homescan Total Till unless otherwise stated.

*Source: Nielsen Scantrack Grocery Multiples, 4 weeks ending 26th Jan 2019
**Source: The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey is conducted in collaboration with Nielsen.