Fresh food demand drives grocery sales, says Nielsen

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Grocery sales increased by +3.3% in January, driven by consumer demand for healthy products, according to Nielsen data.

Over a four-week period ending 26 January, volume growth in fresh produce increased by +1.5% as UK consumers spent over £900m on fresh fruit and vegetables - over £27m more than the same period last year.

The data also revealed that sales of broccoli (+15%), beetroot (+14%), Brazil nuts (+13%) and blueberries (+10%) were all up, while Free From ranges sales increased by 17% in January. The choice available in larger supermarkets also encouraged shoppers to further experiment and add new products to their baskets in the quest for healthy eating, Nielsen said.

The frozen food category saw sales volume increase by +3.7%, attributed to shoppers exploring more ways to save money while still eating healthy.

Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, Mike Watkins, said: “The increase in grocery spend in the fresh and frozen food categories are a testament to evolving shopping trends. In the New Year, consumers are focusing on positive diet changes which are not just healthy, but convenient, cheap and are less wasteful overall.

“However, we can see caution creeping in as consumer confidence dipped at the end of 2018 by four points to 98, back to the level last seen in 2017. This will take some time to impact on grocery spend and we still anticipate industry growth of around +2.5% over the first four months of the year.”

Over a 12-week period ending 26 January, Lidl and Aldi enjoyed sales of +13.8% and +13% respectively year on year, while the Co-op Group (+2.8%) remained ahead of Morrisons (+0.7%), Sainsbury’s (-0.4%), Asda (+0.8%) and Tesco (+0.9%), Nielsen said.

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