Food prices rising, forcing Brits to creatively cope

By UK CreditCards.com

The majority of consumers have noticed a significant rise in food prices over the past 12 months, and many are worried about the effect on their bank balances, new research shows.

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Research by consumer group Which? found that 84% of Britons are concerned about the rising cost of food, and some have had to adapt their shopping lists and find creative ways to save in order to cope.

Consumers forced to rethink shopping habits
The rising cost of food, coupled with fears over redundancy and unemployment, has led many Britons to change their shopping habits, according to the latest study by Which? Researchers found that nine-tenths of people have noticed the recent increase in food prices, with one in three making a conscious effort to reduce their grocery spend.

"Our research shows that despite inflation falling slightly in June, people are still feeling the squeeze from soaring food prices," said executive director, Richard Lloyd in a statement. "People are changing their behaviour and becoming more savvy shoppers when it comes to groceries."

In an effort to save money, many consumers have switched from premium products to supermarket brands, while others have started buying large 'value' packs. According to Which?, these are all viable ways of cutting costs. An analysis of more than 200 everyday items from the UK's four largest supermarkets revealed that people can indeed save money by opting for budget versions of products such as fish, cheese, butter and dried spaghetti. However, as Mr Lloyd pointed out in the statement, "There's only so much they can do to cut back on the basics."

Payment method could also make a difference
Aside from altering the items on their shopping lists, consumers could also benefit from rethinking the way they pay for their groceries. Personal finance experts say that one way to get the most out of their food shopping could be to use a rewards credit card, as opposed to their standard debit or credit card. For example, some cards offer cashback whenever they are used to make purchases, while others offer loyalty points which can subsequently be redeemed for rewards.

Consumers who tend to shop at the same place may benefit most from applying for a supermarket-branded rewards credit card. These cards typically offer loyalty points for in-store spending, which means the points accrued during the weekly supermarket trip can quickly build up. For instance, shoppers can gain one Clubcard point for every £4 spent on groceries with a Tesco Clubcard Credit Card, while the Sainsbury's Nectar Credit Card gives cardholders double Nectar points on their grocery shopping for the first two years.

See related: How to get more from your rewards card; 3/5 of Brits put petrol on their credit cards

Published: 22 July 2011