The majority of consumers (59%) are concerned about the rising cost of groceries in the wake of Brexit, Mintel’s British Lifestyles report has revealed.
A survey of 2,000 people by Mintel found that over four in five (83%) Brits were concerned about price rises on goods and services, with 35% worried about the cost of holidays and 26% fearing clothes price increases.
Just under three-quarters (68%) were worried about the UK economy and 67% nervous about the state of the environment. By contrast, people appeared less concerned by issues relating to their personal situation, with less than half (48%) concerned about their ability to pay the bills and less than two in five (37%) worried about debt levels.
Despite the political turbulence, Mintel found that consumer expenditure rose by 3.7% in 2016 to reach £1.2 trillion. Growth was notably lower across fast-moving consumer goods markets, reflecting ongoing supermarket price wars, the report said.
It projected that by 2021 Brits would spend £1.4 trillion per annum, with growth of 17% expected over the next five years. Mintel predicted that the foodservice, personal finance, leisure and entertainment categories would flourish, while household care, technology. clothing and accessories markets were expected to face challenges.
According to the report, fish, nuts, popcorn and free-from foods were all rising stars in the in-home food category in 2016 as people continued to jump on the health wagon.
Sales of chilled fish and shellfish grew by 3% in 2016, while free-from foods rose by 16%, popcorn by 10% and nuts by 3%. Meanwhile, pasta, pre-packed bread, processed poultry and meat all saw declining sales due to their perceived negative health implications. Sales of pasta fell by 4% in 2016, pre-packed bread sales by 10% and processed poultry and red meat by 4%.
One in three people (33%) said they tried eating less meat, while half of those who ate fish said for health reasons they were eating more. One in five (22%) were limiting their carbohydrate intake, with 20% regularly substituting pasta, rice and noodles with vegetables.
“Following the UK’s vote to leave the EU, there has been a great deal of discussion about how it will impact the price of goods and services. Mintel research underlines particular concern about the rising cost of in-home food, and inflation is undoubtedly going to squeeze household budgets,” said Jack Duckett, senior consumer lifestyles analyst at Mintel.
“However, broader consumer confidence is still relatively strong. Despite rising prices, most people still expect their finances to hold up well over the next year. It’s the bigger picture issues that the UK faces, such as the NHS and the economy, that are the main concern, rather than people’s own finances.”