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    ‘Concern over shrinkflation as shoppers strive to reduce bills’

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    Concerns over shrinkflation continue to remain high as many consumers would like to see government intervention in this matter, states a recent report, adding that majority of shoppers are still looking for ways to get more value from, or to reduce the cost of their weekly shop. 

    According to data from Barclays, concerns about the cost and size of products – owing to shrinkflation – remain high at 78 per cent. As a result, 63 per cent of consumers said that they would like to see the government taking action to intervene – for example, by mandating manufacturers disclose changes in content, volume or weight on product labels.

    The data shows consumer credit and debit card spending grew only 1.9 per cent year-on-year last month – significantly lower than the latest inflation rate of 4.2 per cent and the smallest growth since September 2022.

    Food price inflation dropping to its lowest level since April 2022 contributed to supermarkets (3.9 per cent) and food and drink specialist stores (2.7 per cent) seeing lower uplifts than in January (both 5.2 per cent).

    The deceleration in food inflation helped ease concern about rising grocery prices. While still high at 84 per cent, this is the lowest figure recorded since Barclays started tracking this data point in December 2021.

    The report notes that two-thirds (66 per cent) of consumers are still looking for ways to get more value from, or to reduce the cost of, their weekly shop. To save money, 42 per cent of this group have cut down on supermarket impulse buys, while a third (32 per cent) is stocking up on their favourite or essential products when they are on offer.

    A further quarter (25 per cent) is sticking to basic ingredients or cupboard stables – such as pasta, rice and vegetables – to prepare simple, cheaper meals at home.

    Barclays further notes that recent supply chain disruption and the continuing impact of shrinkflation are front of mind for shoppers. Over half (51 per cent) noticed supermarkets running out of stock in the last month, while 29 per cent are specifically concerned about tea shortages, in light of reports of empty space on the shelves.

    Karen Johnson, Head of Retail at Barclays, said: “February’s wet weather meant Brits chose to spend more time indoors, resulting in a slowdown in high-street and hospitality spending. This shift in behaviour meant insperiences enjoyed a boost, as consumers opted to enjoy cosy nights in with a TV show and a takeaway.

    “At the supermarket, the majority of shoppers have noticed the impact of supply issues on stock, with tea shortages causing the most concern. Meanwhile, ‘drip pricing’ has topped the list of shopper bugbears, particularly when using food delivery services and buying airline tickets.

    “With Brits having reined in discretionary spending during the winter months, and as inflationary pressures begin to ease, retailers will be hopeful that the onset of warmer weather lifts spending – particularly if consumer confidence improves in the summer.”

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