Posted: Fri 7th Jul 2023

Vast majority of people in Wales worried about food prices, consumer watchdog finds

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jul 7th, 2023

Escalating food prices have left over 86% of consumers in Wales concerned about their ability to afford basic goods, according to a study by consumer champion Which?.

Many of those surveyed shared their struggles in maintaining a healthy diet amidst the ongoing cost of living crisis, and suggested that an increased availability of budget lines in supermarkets could alleviate some of their financial pressure.

The research highlights the impact of high-level supermarket food inflation.

Working-age parents in Wales are particularly anxious, with 90% expressing worry about food costs – a higher percentage than their counterparts in England.

To cope with rising prices, 80% of Welsh consumers have taken action to reduce their food bills.

Among these measures, 56% have switched to cheaper food options, and 49% have sought out less expensive supermarkets or online retailers.

The survey paints a grim picture for those already grappling with financial challenges.

Of those struggling financially, 70% reported that high food prices made it difficult to maintain a healthy diet.

Some respondents noted the disparity in cost between convenience meals and healthier options, with one saying, “The price of oven chips and frozen meals are a lot cheaper than healthy meals which involve a lot more protein and take a long time to cook.”

Moreover, 12% have resorted to skipping meals and 7.5% have prioritised feeding other family members first.

These extreme measures were more prevalent among working-age parents.

The study also revealed a pressing need for supermarkets to offer more budget options, with 33% of the respondents voicing this preference.

This sentiment was even more pronounced among Welsh working-age parents, with 40% desiring more budget range foods.

The consumer champion is now urging supermarkets to stock essential budget ranges in all stores, especially in areas where consumers have limited mobility or access to transportation. This call follows recent findings that small supermarket stores seldom stock budget line items.

Furthermore, 25% of Welsh consumers advocated for clearer pricing across different brands to facilitate comparison shopping.

Inconsistent and sometimes missing unit pricing has hindered shoppers from finding the best value.

The Competition and Markets Authority is set to publish an update on competition and unit pricing in the grocery sector this month, outlining measures to help consumers make the best choices.

Sue Davies, Which?’s Head of Food Policy, commented on the findings, stating, “Supermarkets must listen to customers who are crying out for support in the face of high inflation by stocking a range of essential budget lines in smaller stores and by ensuring pricing is clear and more transparent.”

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