Shoppers switch from small shops to supermarkets for fresh produce

Most consumers are buying their fresh meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products in supermarkets, rather than butchers, fishmongers or other specialist shops, according to a survey.

Carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes for Checkout magazine, the survey of 475 shoppers found a switch towards supermarkets in fresh categories where speciality shops have normally been stronger.

For breakfast meats, 79% of consumers said they purchased mostly from supermarkets, 11% said they purchased mainly from butchers/specialist shops, and 10% from a mixture of both. In fish, 68% purchased mostly from supermarkets, compared to 14% from specialist shops and 18% from a mixture of both.

In whole poultry, 65% said that they purchased mostly from supermarkets, 17% from specialist shops and 18% from a mixture of both.

Categories in which butchers and specialist shops performed strongest included joints of meat, where 43% purchased mostly from supermarkets compared to 31% from butchers/specialist shops and 26% from a mixture of both; and meat portions/pieces, where 53% said they purchased mainly from supermarkets, compared to 27% from butchers/specialist shops, and 20% from a mix of both.

Checkout editor Stephen Wynne-Jones said: “Fresh produce is being increasingly used as a unique selling point for supermarkets, which is having a detrimental effect on local butchers, fishmongers and other specialist stores.

“The onus is on smaller businesses to develop concepts and initiatives to differentiate themselves from their supermarket equivalents, such as promoting local suppliers, or offering a more bespoke or value-led product offering.”

The survey found that supermarket purchasing was predictably high in categories such as yoghurt (99%), cheese (96%) and milk (94%).

Martha Fanning of Behaviour & Attitudes added: “Shoppers are under significant pressure to keep their weekly grocery spend under control. The supermarkets are responding with special offers focusing on main meals, with very strong multipack deals on meat, vegetables and fruit. While the specialist stores arguably are active in this area, there is a lot to be said for the convenience of get the bulk of your shopping under one roof.”

The survey was conducted for Checkout’s annual ‘Fresh Issue’, due out next week, which profiles the leading producers and innovators across several fresh categories.

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