What Were We Buying in 2023?

With the BRC reporting that food inflation reached a colossal high of 15.7% in April, pricing and promotions quickly became the industry buzzwords of 2023 with brands all competing to win the custom of consumers who were already spending more while buying less! 

And while food inflation may have begun to slow towards the end of the year, many retailers still found themselves relying on multiple price cuts in their bid to capture shopper loyalty and recoup much-needed sales volume.

But with 2023 now firmly in our back pockets, what were we actually buying during the last 12 months?

Own Brands Take the Spotlight 💡

With consumers increasingly shopping around to buy the cheapest products, retailer own brands have overtaken their higher-cost rivals with the fastest growth seen in the last decade!

2023 was the year of the "own brand". Have you ditched any of your big label favourites for cheaper alternatives in the last 12 months?

While the pandemic may have been boom time for some of our best-loved brands, volume share for own label is now sitting at 62% compared to 60% in 2022, and value share is also dominant at 53% versus 51.5%.

We’re Still a Nation of Snackers! 🍫 

Despite rising costs, UK shoppers are not quite ready to remove snacks from their shopping trolleys – with 71% of us snacking twice a day or more according to research from Mondelez! 

In 2023 in particular, shoppers were looking to snack more consciously. Yet, despite 94% of adults reportedly trying to eat more healthily, 75% said they would only switch to a healthier option if it’s tasty, stressing the importance of offering a wide range of innovative, healthier snacks that also deliver on taste.

With tasty, healthy snacks firmly on many shoppers' lists, now is the perfect time to capitalise on in-store marketing opportunities.

No longer considered a specialist range by shoppers, said products are now expected to be stocked among core in-store categories such as confectionary. 

And with research from Mondelez suggesting that 61% of shoppers will go out their way to find their favourite snack, they provide a great opportunity to attract and retain new shoppers among the battle for the lowest cost!

Big Brands are Fighting Back! 👊

From new formats to new flavours, sustainable sourcing to new formulations, some of which were inspired by HFSS regulations, it was the brands who focused less on the limiting realms of the battle for everyday low prices and more on providing a truly higher quality product that took the remaining top spots in 2023. 

Promotional activity in store was also on the rise, with the four weeks up to 2nd December seeing the highest promotion spend since the pandemic!

Also in store, loyalty pricing schemes have fast become a consumer’s best friend in the battle for high quality products at low prices. According to a recent NIQ Homescan survey, 54% of Brits stated that price discounts via loyalty cards are most likely to encourage them to buy a product. But that doesn’t mean that brands can get complacent as we head into the new year, with everyday low prices hot on their tails at 34%!

What’s to Come in 2024 & Beyond? 

While the retail market is likely to reset as inflation slows throughout the new year, we believe that fundamental changes are on the horizon over the next three to five years, with the convenience sector seeing the most of the change! 

Mirror at a convenience store
Our field team are experts in getting products listed in independent convenience retail.

Whether it’s the rises in tobacco prices announced in the Autumn Statement making it eye-wateringly expensive, the upcoming results of the government’s vape consultation or the change in how we access news and magazines, convenience retail is going to be in a very different place in the next three to four years and a lot of small shops that exist in the UK need to start innovating a little bit more to what the customer wants!

Getting Ahead of the Game! 

Thanks to our extensive experience in the convenience channel, we are perfectly placed to help brands explore and take advantage of this rapidly changing channel, and with our Wholesale Brand Management arm, we can be the one stop end-to-end solution. 

From getting the route to market set up, to deploying our direct sales team, growing sales and distribution, and, ultimately, growing your brand in convenience, get in touch today to see how we can help!