In 2012, the UK packaged food market grew just enough to stop itself from standing still, as consumers shifted their priorities in terms of food to save money. This had been coming for a while, with packaged food recording sluggish growth for a number of years and 2012 was no exception.
This current economic crisis has had widespread effects throughout the UK packaged food market. In the face of public spending cuts, rising unemployment and declining standards of living - as well as increasing food prices - consumers sought to save money where possible.
This led to a decline in eating out and an increase in home cooking, which benefited the packaged food market. Within this, however, there was an increase in products at the lower-end of the market, with frozen processed food benefiting due to its cheap price, as well as meal solutions and dinner kits benefiting in place of eating out.
Snacking has generally increased, as consumers who are saving money on large outlays such as eating out and private entertainment are happier to pay for small indulgences. This benefited indulgence products as well as snacks, biscuits and confectionery, and an increase was also seen in smaller packaging.
Breakfast items also continued to do well, with consumers eating at home before work, enabling them to save on food costs during business hours. Consumers bought cheaper breakfast cereals in larger packs.
2012 was distinguished by a number of important national celebrations, including the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Summer Olympic Games. Although both events were predominantly focused on London, there were nationwide celebrations for both events, including the Queen's Diamond Jubilee tour and the procession of the Olympic torch to every county in the UK.
All of this cultural activity presented multiple opportunities for marketing tie-ins amongst manufacturers, as well as leading to considerable interest in all things British, including cuisine.
Although supermarkets/hypermarkets continue to be the main shopping destinations for consumers wishing to purchase packaged foods, discount stores are increasing their market share at the expense of supermarkets/hypermarkets and small grocery retailers.
For more information on the UK packaged foods market, see the latest research: UK Packaged Foods Market
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