Hi and welcome to my first blog post on Fmcgnews.co.uk!
With a background in FMCG research and a focus on what today’s Shoppers are doing, I’ll be blogging on the latest trends in the retail sector – be it promotions, multichannel, value or a whole host of other hot topics.
This first post looks at how learning to manage tight household budgets leads to more considered shopping habits.
There’s no doubt about it, households in the UK have had a hard time of it over the last few years. Not all have been affected by job losses or pay freezes, but most have felt the need to be more careful about their spending. The rise of the price conscious shopper with a keen eye for a bargain has been a key factor in how our spending habits have changed, and how reliant retailers have become on promotions and offers.
But there is something else going on. This more prudent behaviour means general household spending is now done in the context of ‘what do I actually need’. Just four years ago it seemed household spending was limitless, as the days of ‘I want it all now’ hit a peak. It’s been a hard lesson, but it seems UK households are learning to be more thoughtful in both their spending and their consumption.
If we are only buying what we really need, then we are less likely to be throwing away foods we bought on a whim. If we are deciding where to shop not just in terms of the cost of the items we buy, but how much petrol we will use to get there, then our carbon footprint is getting smaller. And if some of us are also thinking about how to keep our electricity bill down by cooking a microwaveable meal for one versus cooking for one from scratch, then our considerations are directly impacting on our energy consumption.
This is perhaps the silver lining to the recessionary cloud – we are starting to make more responsible choices about our consumption habits. Choices that go beyond what we buy, and relate just as much to how we buy. We haven’t all turned into eco-warriors overnight, but there has certainly been a shift in our collective psyche that means we are behaving more responsibly than in the recent past.
Marvellous, but what does this mean for FMCG suppliers I hear you ask? Well it means that there is an opportunity for business to make the link between prudent and responsible spending. By making responsibly sourced products more accessible and visible, it really is only a small step from spending sensibly to spending responsibly. A huge relief for our over-stretched planet.