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British grocery market returns to slow growth

New Year health kicks contributed to a strong performance across fresh foods & helped British grocery market return to slow growth.

Sales of fresh fruit and of vegetables have both grown 5% in the British grocery market, according to Kantar Worldpanel grocery share data for the 12 weeks to January 31.

The research firm said consumers had clearly sought a healthier start to the year and in doing so turned to fresh foods – particularly fruit and vegetables.

These New Year health kicks contributed to a strong performance across fresh foods, but the revenue growth from fruit and vegetables – which was shared across both traditional and discount retailers – was particularly significant as both categories are still experiencing like-for-like deflation. Similar growth occurred in nuts, fresh poultry and fish but the overall grocery market’s growth was slight, with a total increase of 0.2%, said head of Retail and Consumer Insight, Fraser McKevitt.

British grocery market share

  • The Co-operative: for the first time since 2011 the Co-operative was the fastest growing non-discounter, increasing sales by 1.4%. The convenience-focused grocer grew its own-label sales by 7%, with sales up fastest in the fresh and chilled part of the store.
  • Sainsbury’s: increased its sales for the sixth period in row, growing by 0.6% with a resulting market share increase of 0.1 percentage points to 16.8%.
  • Tesco: showed signs of improvement – while revenues fell by 1.6% .These are the best numbers posted by the retailer since September of last year.
  • Waitrose: its market share remained static at 5.2%, sales increased by 0.1%. This makes it the 91st consecutive period of growth for the retailer.
  • Discount retailers: Aldi and Lidl: saw their growth accelerate – Lidl to 18.7% and Aldi to 13.7%. Their share of the market increased by 0.7 percentage points, with Lidl’s rising to 4.2% and Aldi’s to 5.6% – a dip from the 10.0% combined market share high they experienced at the end of 2015.
  • Morrisons: the sales decline lessened to 2.2%, while market share fell by 0.3 percentage points to 10.8%.
  • Asda: recent announcement of renewed price cuts has not yet had time to materially affect its latest 12 week figures, with sales falling by 3.8% and share falling back to 16.2%.

Read more at: Health kick contributes to grocery market growth from Kantar Worldpanel

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Ongoing growth in UK berry sales

International Strawberry Symposium 2020: programme for the IX edition published

There’s been strong growth in retail sales of berries in the UK in the past year.

Driven predominantly by shoppers buying berries more often, along with a slight increase in the number of shoppers buying berries, and price inflation, the berries and currants market was worth just over £1 billion from 170,220 tons for the 52 weeks to December 6, 2015, having grown 16.8% in value and 12.8% in volume on the previous year, according to Kantar Worldpanel. The frequency of berry purchasing among berry shoppers rose 10.4% to an average of 18.1 trips with an average of 400g per trip.

Kantar Worlpanel data on berries & currants market

The strawberry market

Strawberries accounted for nearly 71% of all the berries sold in the UK.

The strawberry marked gained 10.9% in value and 8.2% in volume for respective totals of £546.7 million and 119,792 tons. According to Kantar Worldpanel, this growth was predominantly driven by shoppers buying strawberries more often, along with new shoppers and price inflation.

Kantar Worlpanel data on strawberries market

Strong growth in sales of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries

Blueberries, with 28,140 tons sold, accounted for 16.6% of berries sold, with sales worth £257.5 million, value growth of 26.9% and volume growth of 30.5%. This was predominantly driven by more shoppers buying blueberries, along with shoppers buying them more frequently and more per trip, Kantar Worldpanel said.

Worth £197.9 million from 18,358 tons sold, the raspberry market clocked 21.5% in value growth and 23.2% in volume growth. This growth was attributed to new shoppers and shoppers buying raspberries more often.

The blackberry market remains the smallest of the four, with a spend of £30.6 million from 2,786 tons, but enjoyed 20.3% value growth and 6.7% volume growth. “New shoppers and price inflation were key to growth, whilst there was a decline in trip volume,” Kantar Worldpanel said.

I, Prathyush Thomas [GFDL 1.2 ( or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

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Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Aldi gain share in UK grocery market

Kantar use this

“Not much festive chair for supermarkets collectively this month with growth falling to a feeble 0.1%.” That’s how Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, began discussing the company’s latest data on grocery share in the UK, covering  the 12 weeks to December 6.

Furthermore, like-for-like prices had fallen by 1.9% in the previous month, he said.

But in among the gloom, Sainsbury’s was the stand-out performer. It boosted sales by 1.2%, growing across its convenience, supermarket and online businesses and increasing its market share to 16.7%.

Meanwhile it was a familiar story of falling sales and shrinking share for Tesco, Asda and Morrisons, but for Aldi and Lidl, one of double-digit growth and they “are surely looking forward to a record Christmas market share,” McKevitt said.

Listen to his analysis and read more here:


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Traffic light pepper packs remain popular in UK

Retail sales of peppers in the UK were up 10.1% in volume but down 6.6% in value for the 52 weeks to October 11 compared to the same period a year before, Kantar Worldpanel data shows.

Retail sales of peppers in the UK were up 10.1% in volume but down 6.6% in value for the 52 weeks to October 11 compared to the same period a year before, Kantar Worldpanel data shows.

Altogether, 115,720 tons of peppers were sold, for a total spend of £291.4 million (€413m).

The top seller in the pepper category was the traffic light pack, which with just over 50,000 tons sold accounted for 43% of all pepper sales. Sales of this pack were up 20% in volume and 9.4% in value, to nearly £112 million (€413m).

It was a different story however for the next biggest sellers, large mixed packs and red peppers. While sales of the large mixed packs (which accounted for 36% of total sales) were up 14.3% in volume (to 41,798 tons), they were down 8.3% in value, and those of red peppers were down in both volume, by 9.6%, and in value, by 16.7%.

Comparing the two periods, specialty peppers saw by gar the biggest growth in volume and in value, with respective leaps of 120%, to 987 tons, and 46.8%, to £4.7 million (€6.67m). The next highest growth, and off a slightly bigger base, was seen with Ramiro/pointed peppers, which rose 25.4% in volume to 2,597 tons and 11.3% in value to just over £15 million (€21.4m).

All other categories slipped, however.

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Increase in citrus sales in UK

'Easy peelers' (such as tangerines, clementines and satsumas) account for more than half of all citrus fruit sold in UK supermarkets, Kantar Worldpanel data shows.

‘Easy peelers’ (such as tangerines, clementines and satsumas) account for more than half of all citrus fruit sold in UK supermarkets, Kantar Worldpanel data shows.

For the 52 weeks to October 11, oranges were the next most popular citrus fruit, with just under 27% of sales, followed by lemons with 11.3% and grapefruit with 6.5%.

Total citrus sales over this period reached nearly 384,000 tons, which was up 4% on 52 weeks to October 12 last year, and the spend inched up 0.3% to £726.5 million (€1b).

While there was 5.1% growth in the volume of easy peelers sold, the spend was down 0.4%, and for oranges both the volume and value sold were down, by 2.1% and 6.8% respectively.

UK shoppers increased their spend on the other citrus types, however. Lemon sales were up 13% in volume and 14% in value.

The highest growth, though off the smallest base, was for lemon+lime sales, which rose just over 37% in both volume and value.

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German discounters now command a tenth of British grocery sales

Discount retailers Aldi and Lidl have reached a combined 10% share of the British grocery market for the first time, new grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks to November 8, 2015, show.

Discount retailers Aldi and Lidl have reached a combined 10% share of the British grocery market for the first time, new grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel reveal.

The data, for the 12 weeks to November 8, show Lidl’s market share reached a new record high of 4.4%, up 0.7 percentage points on last year thanks to 19% sales growth. Aldi grew sales by 16.5%, keeping its market share at 5.6% for the fifth consecutive month.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said the discounters show no sign of stopping and with plans to open hundreds of stores between them will further widen their reach to the British population.

“If you look back as recently as 2012, Aldi and Lidl only held a 5% share of the market, and it had previously taken them nine years to double their combined share from 2.5%. In the last 12 weeks the two retailers have attracted another additional million shoppers compared with last year while average spend per trip has increased by 4% to £18.85, which is 78p ahead of the total retailer average,” McKevitt said.

Other highlights from the latest data:

  • Sainsbury’s: has seen its fourth consecutive period of growth despite the tough market, with sales up 1.5%
  • Tesco: sales were down by 2.5%
  • Morrisons: sales fell 1.7%
  • Asda: sales dropped 3.5%
  • Waitrose: sales up 2.7%
  • The Co-operative: sales up 1.5% & a 0.1 percentage point gain in market share

Shoppers paying less

Grocery inflation stood at -1.7% for the 12 weeks to November 8, which means shoppers are now paying less for a representative basket of groceries than they did in 2014. “This is the same fall as reported last month. Falling prices reflect the impact of Aldi and Lidl and the market’s competitive response, as well as deflation in some major categories including eggs, butter, bread, crisps and fresh poultry,” Kantar Worldpanel reported.




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Waitrose banks on omnichannel strategy

Last year Waitrose opened another 20 ‘little Waitrose’ convenience shops and 13 new core shops. It now has 339 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 61 convenience shops.

Upmarket grocer expanding in online and convenience as it braces for more pain in the world’s toughest food market.

In February, Waitrose regained its crown as the best UK supermarket after a year in which its like-for-like sales increased 1.4%, it had an average 400,000 more customer transactions a week, and its slice of the UK grocery market largely stayed above 5%, rising from 4.8% two years before.

Even so, a deflationary market and fierce competition from the fast-growing discounters Aldi and Lidl – forcing it to cut prices and invest in improved service – saw its operating profit tumble 23.4% to £237.4 million. And Waitrose expects returns for the grocery sector “to be materially lower for a period of time.”

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The UK grocery market is rapidly fragmenting and the ‘big four’ – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – are being squeezed at one end of the price and quality scale by Aldi and Lidl, and at the other end by upscale rivals Marks & Spencer and, particularly, Waitrose.

According to Kantar Worldpanel data on Great Britain’s grocery market, Waitrose’s share has risen from 4.6% in the 12 weeks to October 14, 2012, to 5.1% as at this June 21, while Lidl went from 2.8% to 3.9% and Aldi, overtaking Waitrose, from 3% to 5.5%.

Novel ‘Pick Your Own Offers’ scheme

Fighting back amid the unrelenting price war in the UK, in June Waitrose introduced a new scheme offering loyalty cardholders 20% off their favourite 10 items from an initial list of almost 1,000 lines.

WAITROSE Pick your own offers.png

Waitrose CEO Mark Price described the ‘Pick Your Own Offers’ scheme as ground-breaking but admitted it would be expensive for the grocer. Cherry vine tomatoes have been among the most chosen products so far.

Building online and convenience offer

Being “Britain’s leading omnichannel retailer” is now one of Waitrose’s key strategies, according to the John Lewis PLC financial statements for the year to January 31. The priorities listed under the goal include building Waitrose’s online presence, broadening its convenience offer, and developing compelling reasons to visit shops.

In order to grow its online grocery business, in March Waitrose opened a 90,000 sq ft bespoke e-fullfilment centre in Coulsdon, South London.

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Waitrose e-fullfilment centre in Coulsdon, South London

In regard to its convenience offer, last year Waitrose opened another 20 ‘little Waitrose’ convenience shops and 13 new core shops. It now has 339 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 61 convenience shops.

Central London was the focus for the new ‘little Waitrose’ openings last year but this year Waitrose has said it will go further afield in Greater London for its planned 7 new ‘little Waitrose’ shops.

little Waitrose at John Lewis Watford - Edited.jpg

The ‘little Waitrose’ shops range from 3,000-7,000 sq ft, in comparison to an average sales area of 20,000 sq ft for traditional Waitrose branches. In August last year, in a bid to attract ‘transumers’ – the fast-growing market of travelling consumers – Waitrose opened the first of its railway station outlets, a 2,500 sq ft ‘little Waitrose’ store at King’s Cross in central London.  

And among measures to encourage visits to stores and respond to changing shopping habits, Waitrose has introduced new services, hospitality – such as opening more in-store cafes – and grazing areas where shoppers can try food and drink. “Branches like Salisbury are tapping into growth in casual dining with a wine and tapas bar.”

Responding to food trends

In its Food & Drink Report 2014, Waitrose reported on its response to food trends including “a huge surge” in flexitarianism – where someone follows a plant-based diet but occasionally eats meat products.

“Shoppers are choosing a ‘hero’ vegetable – such as a stuffed mushroom or a spiced aubergine – and adding a sprinkling of bacon chunks or chorizo pieces. To meet this growing demand we have launched new vegetable meals, such as our mushroom and spinach filo parcel and a new baby kale and butternut squash microsteam pack to save time for our flexitarian shoppers.”

Waitrose also said consumers’ taste buds are demanding new, exotic flavours and increasingly there’s a mix-and-match approach, using ingredients associated with one country in dishes from another. “Yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit, is now often used in French dressings, and Kimchi, fermented cabbage from Korea, is employed as a burger dressing.”

The same report said that compared to 2013:

  • Exotic fruit online sales were up 81%
  • Stuffed mushrooms sales were up 22%
  • Stuffed pepper sales were up 17%

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Inside Waitrose, Canary Wharf

Summer brings higher salad, fruit sales

According to recent weekly trade updates by Waitrose, it is seeing strong increases in its sales of salad bowls and British asparagus, which for the week to June 6 were up 43% and 41% respectively on the same week last year, while frozen fruit surged 26% and soft fruit saw an 11% uplift. And for the week to July 3, it said the start of Wimbledon saw strawberry sales up 15%. Amid the good weather, its ‘food to go’ range was up 10%, with salads proving particularly popular, at 21% higher than last year​. Waitrose has also reported that with the bumper UK cherry harvest this year it has 20% more of this fruit on sale.

sources: various, including Waitrose, Kantar Worldpanel


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UK market sweet on honeydew, galia melons

Melon sales in the UK retail sector were up 6.2% in volume and 4.9% in value for the 52 weeks to March 29, Kantar Worldpanel data shows.

Melon sales in the UK retail sector were up 6.2% in volume and 4.9% in value for the 52 weeks to March 29, Kantar Worldpanel data shows.

Altogether 134,402 tons of melons were sold, for a total spend of nearly £135 million (€187m), with honeydew/yellow and Galia accounting for nearly 62% of that value. Honeydew/yellow sales were up 6.3% in volume and 4.1% in value on the previous 52 weeks, and Galia 4.3% for both.

But the biggest percentage change was seen for watermelon, Piel de Sapo and Charentais melons. Watermelon – which accounted for just under a sixth of the total melon spend – enjoyed growth of 13.4% in value year-on-year and 14% in volume (to 30,570 tons).

MELON queso variedad % valor.png

Piel de Sapo gained almost 11% in value and 12.3% in volume (to 5,297 tons) and the specialty melon Charentais leapt up 190% in value and 171% in volume but off a much smaller base – 251 tons sold for the year to March 29.

Cantaloupe sales slipped 1.6% in value and by the same amount in volume, to 13,054 tons.

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Tomato sales value slipped last year in UK

Tomato 3

The value of tomato sales in the UK slipped last year, Kantar Worldpanel data shows.

Figures for the 52 weeks to December 7 show total sales of £706.2 million, down 4.8% on the same period in the previous 12 months. This was despite the sales volume rising slightly – by 1.1% – to nearly 258,000 tons.

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source: Kantar Worldpanel

Tomatoes in one in four shopping baskets

But tomatoes remain popular with consumers, data from shows. They came in 7th on its list of the 25 most bought items in its UK shoppers’ baskets last year. And they were in more than one in four shopping baskets bought in the UK from mySupermarket in 2014.

The company’s figures for December 2013 to November 2014 also show tomatoes are popular year–round. Over those twelve months, an average of 27.5% of all shopping baskets had tomatoes in them, with a dip to 19.98% in December 2013 and rise to above 30% last June and July.

Mostly non–loose and non–organic tomatoes

The vast majority of the tomatoes were pre–packed and very few organic. On average, just 0.87% of baskets had organic tomatoes in them. This level was fairly consistent throughout the year and while low, was higher than for other products, such as peppers (0.34%) and berries (0.61%), both of which showed more monthly variation.

An online shopping and comparison website, MySupermarket, gathers data from more than 50,000 unique shoppers and 4.5 million visitors each month. In terms of traffic it is the UK’s third largest supermarket after Tesco and Asda.




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Grocery sales up in Ireland

Kantar Worldpanel says Ireland’s grocery market is improving and shoppers visiting supermarkets more often and putting more in their baskets.

The Irish retail landscape remains challenging despite growth as retailers battle hard to hold on to shoppers post-Christmas, reports Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland.

After a strong performance at Christmas, Irish grocery market sales were up 1.2% for the 12 weeks ending February 1.

Kantar Worldpanel consumer insight director Georgieann Harrington said there are clear signs Ireland’s grocery market is improving along with the overall economy. “Shoppers are taking advantage of lower grocery prices by visiting the supermarkets more often and putting more in their baskets when they go. On average, consumers increased their grocery spending by €5 in the latest period,” she said.

“The battle for shoppers will continue well into 2015 and this will create more value for Irish households as retailers go head to head.”

Kantar Worldpanel’s latest supermarket share rankings – for the 12 weeks ending February 1 – were:

  1. Tesco: has maintained its market-leading position, holding just over a quarter of the market, though its sales are down 2.1% on the same time last year;

  2. SuperValu: continues to grow and now holds just under a quarter share of the market;

  3. Dunnes: with a 23.8% share, has seen its basket spend increase by 3% to just over €35 and its sales growth of 1.7% made it the best performing supermarket;

  4. Aldi: has an 8% share and has also continued to perform well, achieving 11.5% sales growth as its shoppers spend more on each visit;

  5. Lidl: with 7.4% continued its strong performance with 12.5% sales growth and shoppers visiting its stores more often. Three in five Irish households shopped in either Lidl or Aldi in the previous 12 weeks.

Kantar Ireland rankings.png

Data to February 1, 2015 (source: Kantar Worldpanel)

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