Thursday 5 May 2022

Cabinet Minister Tells Consumers To Buy Supermarket Value Brands To Cope With Living Cost Crisis

The cabinet minister that oversees food and farming has been accused of being out of touch after suggesting that consumers facing surging grocery and energy prices should buy supermarket value brands to cope.

After latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed that shop prices were increasing at their fastest rate since September 2011, George Eustice highlighted that the food industry was facing the knock-on effect of higher energy costs pushing up fertiliser and feed costs.

“Generally speaking, what people find is by going for some of the value brands they can actually contain and manage their household budget. It will undoubtedly put a pressure on household budgets and, of course, it comes on top of those high gas prices as well.”

He argued there was a “very, very competitive retail market with 10 big supermarkets and the four main ones competing very aggressively, particularly on some of the lower-cost, everyday value items for households, so things like spaghetti and ambient products – there’s a lot of competition to keep those prices down”.

Eustice added: “Where it gets harder is on things like chicken and poultry, and some fresh produce, where those increased feed costs do end up getting passed through the system because these people work on wafer-thin margins and they have to pass that cost through.”

Data released by NielsenIQ yesterday suggested that shoppers are already cutting back on alcohol and meat as household budgets come under pressure from the cost of living crisis. Consumers spent 7.8% less on chicken, beef, pork and fish in the four weeks to 23 April, whilst sales of beer, wine and spirits were down 15.9%.

Pat McFadden, a shadow Treasury minister, said Eustice’s comments were “woefully out of touch from a government with no solution to the cost-of-living crisis facing working people”.

He added: “People are seeing their wages fall, fuel and food costs rise, and families are worried about how to make ends meet.

It’s time for the government to get real help to people rather than comments that simply expose how little they understand about the real struggles people are facing to pay their bills.”

NamNews Implications: 
  • Presumably ‘Letting them eat cake’ is not an option…?
  • People are being driven to buy value brands at Tesco, Morrisons and Asda…
  • ..but may want to shop at Sainsbury’s, even Waitrose.
  • This growing tension between Needs and Wants will cause problems…
#HighInflation #ConsumerCoping? #Struggles

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