The Death of Cheap Food in the UK?

After years or stagnation instead of inflation regarding wages on top of increasing food prices, around 40% of British people are growing concerned about the increased cost of food in the UK. As while UK groceries are some of the cheapest in the world, the concern with the inflation is still there.

Some of the Cheapest Groceries in the world

When looking at the spend on groceries compared to the annual household income, the average UK resident spends 8% of their total household income on food, which, other than the US and Singapore, is the least spent on groceries in the world, with countries like Nigeria spending more than half their household income on groceries! Food has realistically never been cheaper than before, with England having the (relatively) cheapest food in Western Europe and thanks to the increase in wages on average, is much cheaper than what the average British residents parents would have to have spent on their weekly shop. For the UK, there is a weird equilibrium on the basis that the amount of money on food has halved over the past 60 years, but the cost on leasure and housing costs has doubled.

Graph Created By the BBC using data from the USDA - showing food spending in selected countries
Graph Created By the BBC using data from the USDA – showing food spending in selected countries

Less Brand Loyalty – More Deal Finding

The way shoppers shop in the UK has dramatically changed also, with brand loyalty dropping and the rise of budget supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl, causing more than 20% (in studies) of people to move to a different supermarket if it made their weekly shop cheaper, and 40% of individuals not being concerned if their supermarket was even open.

People nowadays don’t always do one big shop, they may buy some produce from one supermarket and other produce from another, if it helps to save them money.

The Technology Revolution

Convenience of Shopping Online

With many supermarkets having an online app or website that makes your weekly shop do-able from home and allows for easier price comparison, ensures an overall cheaper experience since it takes far less time to find the deals and do your weekly shop, ensuring a faster, more convenient and cheaper shopping experience all from the comfort of your own home.

Outsourcing your lunch

The United Kingdom, just like many countries around the world has hugely benefited from the massive improvements in the efficiency of food production, with farming sped up with mechanical aids which speed up the process, cost less man hours, and generally give a higher yield. This allows for food to be cheaper to produce, and more plentiful overall.

The process of transporting food has also become far faster and more streamlined, which means less cost moving the food from one country to another, with it potentially being cheaper than local produce. The UK used to import a third of its produce back in the 90’s, its now around half.

Is the Death of Cheap Food Upon Us?

With the UK Leaving the EU, on top of changing tastes and environmental issues, there is still a strong possibility that the end of cheap food in the UK is upon us.

This isn’t all bad though, and while there is a lot of bad, there is a tiny sliver of positivity that could come from this, and that is that there will be less waste, and also fewer snacks and calories consumed, which could lead to a healthier Britain.

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