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Health driving UK food trends

Health is Brits’ top priority: popularity of vegan cheese, venison and turmeric soars

The free-from phenomenon was one of the biggest food trends of 2016 in the UK, reports Sainsbury’s.

The UK supermarket chain said sales in what was once a niche market grew over 18% and it is now a £770 million (€900m) industry.

One of the most popular free-from items sold by Sainsbury’s was vegan cheese. Its seven varieties of cheese alternatives exceeded sales expectations by 300% in the first month after the September launch.

“The line was developed following research indicating that the most longed-for dishes for shoppers with allergies and intolerances included pizza, cheese boards and cheesecake,” it said.

Other trends included exponential growth in sales of venison, which is low in fat, high in protein and rich in minerals, making it a good alternative to other red meats.

Turmeric and coffee sales were also up in 2016, something Sainsbury’s said might be due to the popularity of turmeric lattes – coffee blended with almond milk and the super food spice. Sales of fresh turmeric root saw a 45% uplift.

Source: Sainsbury’s

(Free-from foods usually refer to those that are targeted at consumers who suffer from food intolerances and/or food allergies.)

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Sainsbury’s on its support for sustainable agriculture in Peruvian desert

Sainsbury’s Supports Sustainable Agriculture In The Peruvian Desert

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has higlighted in a recent blog post that as you walk through its aisles you might be surprised to find that some of its products – including asparagus, peas, beans and grapes – come from one of the world’s oldest, driest deserts in southern Peru.

“While it might sound unusual, the results are some of the successes from our partnership with Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, a world famous center for botanical and mycological knowledge, as we develop the idea of ‘conservation through use’.

“We’re really proud of our work around this idea, which helps return native and threatened species to otherwise arid areas, introducing them into schools and communities to ensure sustainable, effective growing. Now two years in it’s proven really successful, not only improving farming, but integrating and maintaining delicate ecosystems to build a sustainable future for local people.

“For example, we’ve been able to introduce nitrogen-fixing trees, like Acacia species, to sufficiently improve the soil quality to grow everything from maize and Lima beans, through to guavas and cottons.

“Thanks to its success, we’ve already seen attention from across Peru and the whole community is keen to make this work. That’s why we’re delighted to say that, thanks to support from Sainsbury’s, Kew has established the first Native Plant Research and Conservation Centre. This facility is developing native seed management and propagation protocols for rare native plants at large scale, and is currently acting as a training hub and a much-needed community resource.”

The retailer said that at the heart of this lies its commitment to ensuring that its sourcing “does not have a negative impact on the local environment or communities,”

Whether it’s asparagus or guava in your basket, you’ll know that the items you buy help promote sustainable farming for local communities abroad, Sainsbury’s said.

source: Sainsbury’s blog

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Sainsbury’s trials ‘Vegetable Butcher’ in London store

Sainsbury’s Vegetable Butcher is fronted by Amber Locke, who shows customers more than six different techniques to prepare veg including ribbon cut, spiralised, mandolin sliced, wave-cut and julienne. Customers can buy their favourite loose vegetables, then take them to the counter for a preparation of their choice at no additional cost.

A new vegetable counter designed to show customers ways vegetables can be incorporated into everyday meals, and encourage them to make the most of their favourites from ‘root to tip’, is being trialled this week by Sainsbury’s in one of its superstores in London.

In a press release, the supermarket chain described the service as the UK’s first vegetable butcher, saying it was inspired by the rise in nose to tail eating and the expert knife skills found in traditional butchers.

“The Vegetable Butcher will allow customers to discover new ways to prepare classics such as carrots, broccoli and cucumbers whilst also inspiring them to try less familiar veg including beetroot and parsnip,” it said.

“The Vegetable Butcher will be using more than six different techniques to prepare veg including ribbon cut, spiralised, mandolin sliced, wave-cut and julienne. Customers can buy their favourite loose vegetables, then take them to the counter for a preparation of their choice (or to be inspired by a new way to cook and enjoy them) at no additional cost.”

The Vegetable Butcher will be fronted by Amber Locke, who said she has been trying to use vegetables in exciting and inspiring ways for years. “I have a passion for showing people how fun and delicious vegetables can be and, more importantly, how you can avoid wasting parts of them that may seem unusable.”

Sainsbury’s said British shoppers (62%) are now buying a larger variety of vegetables than they did five years ago – due to understanding more about the health benefits of different vegetables (44%) and being more likely to consider vegetables as the main part of a meal (28%).

“Over 20% are even inspired by chefs and restaurants serving interesting vegetable dishes that they want to recreate at home. Of those who have bought at least one new variety of vegetable this year, sweet potato (40%), kale (36%), avocado (19%) and asparagus (19%) top their choices.”

“While Sainsbury’s is already leading the way with innovative products such as “Courgetti”  (courgette spaghetti) and “Boodles” (butternut squash noodles) – made primarily from vegetables that would otherwise be wasted – there is still a way to go in the fight against food waste. As part of her role as The Vegetable Butcher, Amber will demonstrate easy ways to use the whole vegetable – from grating to roasting and juicing.”

Sainsbury’s product developer for fresh produce Georgina Lunn said the retailer is always seeking new and interesting ways to inspire its customers.

“The innovative new products we’ve recently introduced to the prepared vegetable category, such as courgetti and beetroot rice, have been really popular, so we love the idea of an in-store Vegetable Butcher, to build on this success and hope it will be well-received by our shoppers too,” she said.

The veg counter is operating on a trial basis until tomorrow (Saturday June 18), in Sainsbury’s Wandsworth superstore in South West London.

Surge in vegetable sales

Sainsbury’s said vegetables are becoming more central to British eating with over two thirds (68%)* of households now enjoying at least one vegetarian meal a week – even if they are meat eaters.

“Families are also increasingly replacing carbohydrates with on-trend vegetable alternatives, with new Sainsbury’s products “courgetti” and “boodles” exceeding expectations by selling an average of nearly 30,000 units per week since their launch in January 2016.”

The retailers said it has seen the following year-on-year surge in its vegetable sales:

– avocado* (147%)
– asparagus spears* (118%)
– broccoli* (40%)
– courgettes* (30%)
– bunched beetroot (25%)*

*Total Sainsbury’s vegetables sales volume from PD 03 2015 – PD 03 2016: 6% growth
*Sales volume of Sainsbury’s Large Ripe & Ready Avocado Single from Total P4 2014 – P3 2015: to Total P4 2015 – P3 2016: 4,353,289
*Sales volume of Sainsbury’s Asparagus Spears 250g from Total P4 2014 – P3 2015: to Total P4 2015 – P3 2016: 4,353,289
*Sales volume of Sainsbury’s Broccoli 335g from Total P4 2014 – P3 2015: to Total P4 2015 – P3 2016: 4,353,289
*Sales volume of Sainsbury’s Courgettes 500g from Total P4 2014 – P3 2015: to Total P4 2015 – P3 2016: 4,353,289
*Sales volume of Sainsbury’s Bunched Beetroot from Total P4 2014 – P3 2015: to Total P4 2015 – P3 2016: 4,353,289
Research carried out by OnePoll amongst 2,000 UK shoppers in June 2016


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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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New bid to keep food out of bins


Potatoes, then bread and milk, are the UK’s most wasted foods, a new study by the retailer Sainsbury’s shows.

In the case of the spud, it’s estimated that around 733,000 tons are thrown out each year in the UK.

The research has been released by Sainsbury’s to launch its Food Rescue waste campaign. Among other things, the campaign provides recipes and handy tips to help people reduce their food waste.

The tips include:

  • Store potatoes in the cupboard rather than the fridge.
  • Keep all fruit in the fridge except pineapples and bananas, which are happier in the fruit bowl.
  • Keep leftover salad in a bowl and add a sheet of kitchen roll before topping with cling film.



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Sainsbury’s to open ‘dark’ store in 2016

Sainsbury’s is shipping around 250,000 online grocery orders a week and expects that figure to keep rising.

Sainsbury’s is on track to open a dark store in London next year, says CEO Mike Coupe.

At the May 6 presentation of the UK retailer’s preliminary results for 2015, Coupe said opening the dark store – a warehouse dedicated to fulfilling online orders – is part of a build-up in online business capacity.

He said that at 7%, Sainsbury’s groceries online growth was slightly behind the market, but it was not going to chase volume for the sake of chasing volume.

“So our groceries’ online business is all about serving our customers on a day-to-day week-to-week basis, and actually it represents about an 11% growth in order numbers,” Coupe said.

About 250,000 online orders dispatched per week

Sainsbury’s is currently shipping around 250,000 orders a week and expects that figure to keep rising, he said.

“And we’re doing lots of things to continually improve the underlying proposition, whether it’s the functionality of the website, whether it’s the number of substitutions, whether it’s the underlying availability, whether it’s the quality and the freshness of the products that we sell.”

Coupe said the chain now has ‘click and collect’ in about 20 locations and will expand it to 100, including in large out-of-town superstores and some convenience sites with car parks.

“We now offer customers a green van option, so where we are coming to your street you can nominate to have a green van option, that gives you a much more environmentally-friendly and cheaper delivery.

“And we’re anticipating that in London particularly, we’ll get to the top end of our capacity over the next 12 months or so. So during the course of 2016 we do anticipate that we’ll open a ‘dark store’ in London particularly. Now we believe that the business model picking from store is the right model and we still believe that outside London we have the capacity to do that out of our large out of town superstores,” he said.


Source: Sainsbury’s transcript of Preliminary Results 2015 address on May 6, 2015

Read more about dark stores: Inside the supermarkets’ dark stores, The Guardian

E-commerce image: by Giralt via Pixabay (Creative Commons)



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Big ad spends help Aldi, Lidl grab more of UK market

Screenshot 2015-04-13 at 11

German discounters Aldi and Lidl now hold an 11% slice of UK grocery sales.

According to Nielsen figures for the 12 weeks to March 28, Aldi’s sales grew 17.9% year-on-year, to reach a 6.2% share of the grocery market, and Lidl’s sales rose 10.8%, for a 4.9% share – cementing their positions as the UK’s 5th and 7th biggest supermarkets, respectively.

Lidl biggest spender on TV & press ads

In the four weeks to March 28, Lidl spent the most on TV and press advertising (£5.9 million) – up 160%  on the same period last year – followed by Asda (£4.0 million) and Aldi (£3.5 million).

“Aldi and Lidl have become the fifth and seventh biggest supermarkets partly due to their large ongoing investment in advertising. Not only do they consistently spend the most in relation to each percentage of market share they hold, their advertising has changed the perceptions and expectations of UK shoppers,” Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said.

Bad month for the Big Four

Over the same period, all of the big four supermarkets saw a decline in year-on-year grocery sales. Asda’s slipped 1.7%, Tesco’s 1.1% and Sainsbury’s and Morrisons 0.6% each.

However, Tesco remained in top ranking, with a share of 27.5%, followed by Sainsbury’s with 16%, Asda with 15.7% and Morrisons with 10.7%.

Outlook for next 3 months more positive

Watkins said the current trading environment is challenging for the supermarkets. “…people (are) spending less on groceries than they used to.”

“Consumer spend continues to be impacted by a combination of record-low food inflation and supermarkets’ competitive pricing policies – good news for shoppers but not retailers, whose margins are continually under pressure. However, the outlook for the next three months is more positive than we’ve seen for some considerable time,” he said.

Read the Nielsen press release.
image source





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Sainsbury’s opens its first ‘click and collect’ grocery stores

UK retailer Sainsbury’s is rolling out a new service allowing customers the option of picking up the shopping they’ve ordered online from a nearby store.

UK retailer Sainsbury’s has this month started rolling out its new ‘click and collect’ service allowing customers to pick up the shopping they’ve ordered online from a store.

More than 20 Sainsbury’s stores will be offering the service by the end of the month and 100 stores are in the pipeline to join them by the end of the year.

The service means customers shopping online – in addition to still being able to book the usual home delivery slots – could choose a participating store and time to pick up their shopping from a refrigerated van which parked in the store’s car park.

Sainsbury’s Online Director, Robbie Feather, said: “This is yet another step for Sainsbury’s increasingly popular online service, and a demonstration of our commitment to giving our customers more convenient ways to shop with us, wherever and whenever they want.” Sainsbury’s online business is 18 years old and a £1 billion business (5% of sales).

The free collection slots will be available at eligible stores from Monday to Saturday from 8am to 1pm and then 2pm until 8pm in the evening. The service will also be available during store opening times on a Sunday. Collections are subject to a minimum £20 spend, with no collection charge. Orders may be placed up to 20 days in advance and as late as 11pm for next day collection.



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Sainsbury’s sales drop a shockwave for market


Big structural changes behind malaise ‘set to descend’ upon the UK’s Big Four grocers, Planet Retail says


The 2.8% fall in sales reported by Sainsbury’s for its second quarter marks a “watershed moment” for both it and the wider UK grocery industry, according to David Gray, retail analyst at Planet Retail. “The sharp decline in like-for-like and total sales at the retailer will send shockwaves across the market. First it was Tesco, then Morrisons, and now even Sainsbury’s is reeling from the effects of seismic structural changes rumbling across the UK food sector,” Gray said.

The shift is akin to long-term climate change rather than the temporary effects of a perfect storm and no one is immune to the effects, he said. “The hard discounters are just one factor driving this change. Shifting shopper habits – consumers shopping little and often at convenience stores, smaller online baskets, households wasting less and evaporating hypermarket impulse spend – are all underpinning this shift. With volumes already dwindling and values expected to hit negative later this year in the face of ever-diminishing price inflation, the situation can only worsen. All this makes it increasingly likely Christmas will be a complete washout for the UK’s major grocers.

“Sainsbury’s is also bruised by the effects of a price skirmish that is progressively heightening in intensity, into which it is fast being drawn through the Brand Match scheme. In the long term, industry-wide margins are likely to come under even more pressure.

“No gaping holes in the company accounts and a slightly less diabolical performance than Tesco are hardly achievements to shout about. Sainsbury’s will need to pull out all the stops over the next few months if it is to escape the worst of the malaise set to descend upon the UK’s Big Four grocers,” Gray said.

Source: Planet Retail press release

Photo: © Copyright Andrew Abbott and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence