Shopping in the Credit Crunch

Jenni Trent Hughes, social commentator, has been working with Dalepak to research UK's changing shopping habits, she said;

"One of the great things to come out of the current financial climate is that it is causing most of us to show that we still have that 'make the best of a bad situation' attitude running through us. We're taking the difficulties being thrown at us and using it as a way to create more opportunities to extend our shopping pound."

Jenni Tent Hughes now lives by the following shopping rules:

Cook food in larger amounts (it's cheaper), then freeze it to use at a later date rather than sticking the leftovers in the back of the fridge to be thrown away at the end of the week.

Still treat yourselves to the occasional takeaway but cook the rice and vegetables at home.

Keep it simple, research your products and don't just buy whatever the snazzy ads direct you towards. Often these 'four-in-one' products aren't necessary and are definitely more expensive.

90% of parents are buying 'Bogofs' and
'End of sell by' in their weekly shop

Mums attempt to slash the cost of food by maximising offers and obsessive price comparisons

As the recession bites deeper, households are looking for a range of ways to cut the cost of the weekly shop. 'End of sell by' and 'buy one get one free' promotions are now regular features of the family food cost cutting exercise, with 88% of mums and dads admitting to looking out for these opportunities as a way of controlling the weekly food bill. Our research showed a radical change in the way that families were shopping to counteract ever shrinking budgets.

In addition, price comparing has become an obsession with British parents looking to get through the crunch, with the study revealing one in five now spend at least 26 hours* per year comparing the cost of food when shopping for the family.

As part of the research, we interviewed over 1,000 parents from across the UK to discover what behavioural changes have been made to food shopping and feeding the family.

Findings reveal that whilst 72% of parents have increased their time comparing food prices as a means to surviving the recession, one in five spend a minimum of half an hour per weekly shop weighing up prices of their favourite goods.

Almost all surveyed (96%) have adopted new shopping habits to help reduce the weekly food bill, with 38 per cent putting a stop to impulse buys and 16 per cent obsessed with comparing cost per gram to keep costs to a minimum. Other habits acquired to help reduce till receipt includes shopping without the kids (13%), shopping less regularly (11%) and travelling further to seek out bargains (8%).

Top 5 behavioural changes

A change in behaviour doesn't stop in the supermarket, with almost 80% making considerable changes to the weekly family meal plan, with the top five changes being:

Stopped weekly take-aways (58%)

Cutting out deserts (10%)

Introduced left-over night (7%)

At home date nights (5%)

Introduced a vegetarian night (3%)

The survey also highlights that a third of people in the UK are turning to their parents and grandparents for advice to get through the crunch, elders who could well be encouraging the 47 per cent of people who have started dabbling in the 'good-life'. Just over 30 per cent are now growing their own vegetables and one in ten starting their own herb garden, with a lesser six per cent who think keeping chickens is the way forward. With all this said, 53 per cent still think self sufficiency is not the most cost effective way to feed the family stating that it's easier and cheaper to buy all their food from the supermarket and local shops.

Anne Claypole, spokesperson at Dalepak commented, "We carried out the research after experiencing a boom in sales for our frozen crispbakes and grills from the onset of the credit crunch. Our findings show that mums and dads up and down the country are investing a substantial amount of time comparing prices, therefore these products must tick all the boxes where value is concerned, and taste, as they keep coming back for more.

We hope that parents can claim back those hours spent comparing cost per gram of food, and scouring the supermarkets for the best price from their meal preparation time; just adding vegetables to our crispbakes provides a substantial family meal ready in less than 30 minutes and costs under a pound per person."

The mum's opinion

Helen Clark, mother of two from Wakefield says;

"I now spend so much time comparing prices of food in the supermarket that I have even turned to my mum and mother-in-law for advice on how they coped feeding the family through the last recession. Sticking to a shopping list has been simple but invaluable advice helping to stop impulse buys - it's not just cost though for me though, food has to be good quality, quick to prepare and tasty enough for my kids so I have clean dinner plates every evening!