Are Brits becoming ‘shopping tarts’?

July 4, 2008

Are you the kind of shopper that supermarkets love, the type who always shops at the same supermarket on a regular basis?

Tesco, Morrisons, etc… love you, as you are often more loyal to them then your employer or even your family!

Well the BBC reports that in these times of economic turmoil, the days of the loyal supermarket shopper may be coming to an end as we become more price sensitive.

Many supermarket-goers are wedded to their brand of shop. But as people begin to draw in the purse strings, some are starting to see benefits in being a more promiscuous consumer.

Evidence suggests once loyal shoppers, who in the past have been faithfully wedded to a single supermarket brand, are starting to experiment with younger, cheaper models.

However will these changing habits last? According to the article, no.

…as shoppers have more money again they will revert to old habits.

These surveys are a great demonstration of how changes in income effect the demand for groceries. As incomes fall (due to increased costs), the demand for luxury goods (ie Waitrose or Marks and Spencers) will fall (shift to the left); whilst the demand for basic (cheap) goods (ie lidl or aldi) will rise (shift to the right).

We can also use demand and supply analysis to explain the recent rise in food prices, by shifts in the supply curve.

More links on supermarkets.

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Tesco to end trade with Zimbabwe

June 30, 2008

Tesco to end trade with Zimbabwe

The BBC reports on how Tesco responding to political and consumer pressure it to no longer source products from Zimbabwe.

Supermarket chain Tesco has announced it will stop sourcing products from Zimbabwe while “the political crisis persists” there.

The retail giant buys around £1m ($1.9m) worth of goods, including vegetables, from Zimbabwe.

Tesco said it was looking for other ways to support workers there.

This is an example of how in the business environment, political and consumer pressures can force business organisations to change the way in which they do business.


River Cottage 0-1 Tesco

June 29, 2008

Following on from my earlier post, found an interesting article in the Guardian about Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s attempts to change Tesco’s chicken policy.

The campaign to improve the welfare of chickens sold in Tesco stores, led by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, hijacked the company’s annual meeting yesterday, drawing groans from the pensioners and standard bearers of middle England there to pose a question about their local store or to take advantage of a spot of free lunch.

Well worth reading.


Profits over welfare

June 28, 2008

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, he of River Cottage fame, has alas failed in his attempt to get Tesco to change their chicken policy.

The BBC reports on his attempt at the Tesco shareholders meeting.

Tesco shareholders have not backed proposals to improve welfare standards for chickens championed by TV cook Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

The chef wanted investors to adopt new standards for rearing birds, but the plan got fewer than 10% of votes at its annual general meeting in Solihull.

Read more.

Though this is a setback for Hugh’s campaign, a lot of consumers are changing their own buying habits at the supermarket. Over the last few years virtually all of the chicken I buy has been organic for me the main reason has been flavour and concerns about chemicals used.

I have noticed recently in both Sainsburys and Morrisons the amount of shelf space they give free range, organic and RSPCA Freedom chicken has really increased.

However with the continuing economic pressures on consumers, will price give way to quality and taste? According to an article I read in the Guardian, the answer is no, as what goes first with an economic downturn is going out to restaurant.