Shoppers are not only trading down, but are now cutting back on the volume of food they buy as the credit crunch bites, according to exclusive Nielsen data for The Grocer. When inflation is stripped out, fmcg unit sales are down 2.3% in the 12 weeks to 6 September.

The growth of premium own label has slowed to just 1.7%, far lower than the rate of inflation. But budget own-label sales are flourishing, up 23% in the same period, albeit from a low base. Non-food was the first to suffer earlier this summer. Sales of frozen food, which has less wastage, are up 7% year-on-year for the same period.