The age of austerity? Not in grocery it ain't.

For the past 18 months, the media has been filled with tales of consumers turning to a more modest way of living to cut costs.

We were all eschewing dining out for meals in, hunting out the best promotions and cooking from scratch rather than lavishing money on ready prepared foods. But not any more.

The UK economy is officially out of recession and consumers are back on the spend in grocery at least. And sales of chilled ready meals are back up to pre-recession levels after falling in early 2009 [Kantar].

While spending £3, or so, on a ready meal is hardly extravagant, it is an indication of a broader trend long-term consumer shopping habits are bouncing back and ready meals are just one example.

Try as we might, old habits die hard and good intentions to tighten belts only last so long. For people still in work, life is unlikely to have become less busy and so the urge to grab a ready meal after a long day is still as strong.

Come what may, British consumers are buying again. Age of austerity? You don't scare me Mr Osborne.