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More lists, better meal planning and rising expectations signal ‘new fashioned values’ of post-crunch shoppers

A report published today by Sainsbury’s shows how the behaviours and expectations of British shoppers are undergoing deep and sustained change, as ‘new fashioned values’ emerge to balance the aspirations and demands of an increasingly sophisticated and educated consumer forced into managing squeezed budgets. The report, “New Fashioned Values”, is launched today at a 20×20: One Year On stakeholder event hosted by Sainsbury’s.

As pressures on household budgets continue, shoppers are more carefully considering the decisions they make, increasing their expectations of the goods and services they are buying. Across all price ranges, shoppers are looking for not only great value, but also quality and sustainability.

The result is the emergence of new fashioned values where the principles and behaviours of previous generations are being re-proposed for today’s world.

The research is published one year on from the launch of Sainsbury’s 20×20 plan, a set of time bound commitments that places British produce, sustainable sourcing and health and wellbeing at the heart of its future plans.

Commenting on the findings, Justin King, Sainsbury’s CEO, said: “Our customers are recalibrating their spending but they’re not prepared to compromise their values.  The credit crunch has not led to a values crunch.  We’re seeing people from all backgrounds re-discovering some of the shopping habits of the past to ensure they can meet the values driven aspirations of today.

“Although people have less, they actually care more. The downturn has led to a strengthening of values, irrespective of people’s income.  We believe this is not a passing phase but a fundamental change that is here to stay.”

The New Fashioned Values report, which draws on Mintel research and the sales data of Sainsbury’s 22 million customers, says 83% of people have changed their shopping habits in the last year.

  • Nine out of ten people (90%) now write a shopping list before they leave the home
  • Nearly four out of ten people (37%) plan meals for the full week
  • More than one in four of us (28%) are now taking a packed lunch into work

At the same time, Sainsbury’s has sold 8.5% more sustainably sourced food in the last 12 months. And more than £1 in every £10 spent on sustainably-labelled products come from those families on the lowest incomes.

People are also re-calibrating their spending to ensure they can still celebrate special times and enjoy moments of indulgence. While 64% of customers look out for more special deals and 22% buy more dried, tinned and frozen foods, nearly a quarter of us (22%) are indulging ourselves at home, instead of eating out. This is supported by Sainsbury’s data which show that sales of fine wine increased by 20% year on year and their Taste the Difference Bistro meals increased by 52% in the same period.

How Sainsbury’s is responding

These behaviours are now engrained in the consumers’ behaviour and retailers need to respond to these new expectations. The findings demonstrate the importance of Sainsbury’s 20×20 plan, which will place British produce, sustainable sourcing as well as health and wellbeing at the very heart of the company’s business strategy.

In the last year, the 20×20 plan has made great progress, with many of the proof points meeting the needs of the new, savvier and more sustainable shopper. Through this plan, Sainsbury’s seeks to support consumers and their shopping choices in two ways

The way we communicate to customers: Helping consumers live the way they want to live, and making it easier for them to buy what they want.

  • Loving ugly fruit and veg: The unseasonal weather in 2012 meant that many of Britain’s farmers were left with crops of smaller and blemished ‘ugly’ fruit. We changed our approach to buying British fruit and vegetables by using all fruit and veg that meet regulations and standards. We then encouraged consumers to embrace ugly veg by selling slightly blemished fruit and veg at our Basics prices.
  • Switch the fish: We ran our Switch the Fish campaign to encourage consumers to try new fish varieties beyond the ‘big five’ species – cod, haddock, tuna, salmon and prawns. We offered an alternative species to try for free, resulting in an additional 46 tonnes of alternative fish species being sold.
  • Love your leftovers: We are engaging customers on the issue of waste with a practical change to freezing guidance – encouraging them to freeze up until the use-by-date.

Ensuring that our customers can be confident about the quality, value and integrity of products across all price brackets.

  • Our commitment to Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish extends right across our range, from Basics fish fingers to Taste the Difference Wild Alaskan Salmon.
  • We are Britain’s biggest retailer of sustainable fish – all of our own brand canned tuna is pole and line caught, and in the last 12 months, sales of tins of tuna and salmon have increased by 54% (Sainsbury’s sales data).
  • Milk production model: We know our customers value the support we give to British farmers.  At a time when it was becoming almost impossible for British dairy farmers to produce milk profitably we led the way in introducing a cost of production model that ensured our milk suppliers get a fair price for the milk they produced. In 2011 we reduced the fat and saturated fat in the pastry used in our pasties and sausage rolls. This year we have done the same to our biggest-selling mince pie line, removing nearly 23 tonnes of saturated fat from customers’ Christmas shopping.
  • In 2012 we became the first major retailer to move to eggs from cage-free hens in our ingredients. We are still the only major retailer to achieve this.
  • Between 2007 – 2011, Sainsbury’s invested over £1 million to enable farmers across Africa, Asia and Central America to strengthen their business and build more secure futures (as part of Sainsbury’s Fair Development Fund). To date, over 33,000 producers have benefited from the Fund. We are due to launch the next four years of funding in early 2013.

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