Consumers' demands for a cheaper shopping basket will override all other considerations as the current economic gloom continues, according to David Glennon of retail analyst ACNielsen.

Glennon told delegates at the Federation of Wholesale Distributors' annual conference that value retailing was now a way of life in the UK, and that small stores should be prepared to think differently. "Managing customers' price perception is becoming increasingly important," he said.

"Shoppers increasingly demand value for money," he continued. "More than 42% now regularly visit discounters, and lower pricing is gaining popularity over multibuy promotions.

"The shopping basket mix is changing, with private label seen as good value for money and ingredients rising in popularity as people cook at home more.

"Shoppers are choosing smaller basket sizes versus large trolley shops, and visiting stores more frequently as a way of managing budgets."

Glennon suggested stores "shout about value" by creating a shelf or section of products priced at £1. This would generate incremental sales and strengthen perception of value, he said.

He suggested wholesalers and suppliers could work together to co-ordinate this on behalf of independents.

Nielsen data revealed by Glennon showed across-the-board declines in unit sales of convenience categories, with only meat, fish and poultry and fresh produce bucking the trend.

He warned retailers not to be misled by value sales rises in categories such as bakery, rice, pasta and dairy products, which were driven by increased commodity costs.