Grocery market share figures released today reveal the negative impact of the ongoing horsemeat crisis as frozen burger sales plummeted amid consumer concern.
Frozen burger sales declined by 43 per cent in the four weeks ending February 17th 2013 while frozen ready meal sales dipped 13 per cent on the same period last year, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel, highlighting a change in shopping habits following the scandal.
Grocer Tesco saw its share decrease 0.4 per cent to 29.7 per cent over the period, though Kantar Director Edward Garner pointed out that this decline is attributable to more than a change in shopping habits.
Garner explained: “It might seem natural to attribute this decline to the horsemeat contamination; however, Tesco undertook heavy promotions this time last year, where consumers received a £5 voucher when they spent £40, and not repeating this offer will have adversely affected its share.”
Recent data from the St Ives Group revealed a rise in the ‘promiscuous shopper’ as consumers are increasing driven by a desire to find the best promotions and discounts, with the average shopper visiting 4.14 stores per month, while a third of the 1,000 respondents said they had visited completely new stores in the past year.
Peter Kneale, Director of St Ives Group company Incite said: “The findings clearly show the trend of shoppers going to multiple supermarkets and trying out new ones which is why it’s more important than ever for supermarkets to communicate effectively to their target audience; consider alternatives to TV advertising and don’t underestimate the influence of word-of-mouth and print media.”
Overall, the grocery market is growing at an annual rate of 3.7 per cent, considerably behind grocery price inflation of 4.3 per cent as consumers use coping strategies to decrease their personal inflation rate, Kantar said.
Sainsbury’s was the only supermarket of the big four to increase share over the period, growing at a rate of 4.6 per cent while conversely, Morrisons was the only grocer to report a sales fall, decreasing by 1.3 per cent.
While the scandal has detrimentally affected a number of top supermarkets, Garner said that other chains implicated in the crisis have fared well despite consumer worries.
“Waitrose and Aldi deliver all-time record shares this period of 4.8 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively indicating that market polarisation and the ‘two nations’ consumer climate continues,” Garner explained.
“Iceland records 10.1 per cent growth confirming that the frozen food category as a whole remains robust.”