NEWS28 June 2022

Consumers’ healthy-eating choices wane as cost-of-living crisis bites

News Retail Trends UK

UK – The number of adults preferring to eat organic food fell by almost a third in early 2022, particularly among the younger generation and women, according to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)’s TouchPoints 2022 report.

Man looking shocked at food prices on supermarket receipt

The study also found that the number of adults preferring not to buy food that has been genetically modified has dropped by almost 40% and by half for 15-34-year-olds.

Meanwhile, the number of adults saying they are able to manage on their current salary has fallen by 5.5% from the pre-2020 lockdown period to the first quarter of this year, with only half of young adults and just under two-thirds of women saying they are coping.

Moreover, the number of adults who feel their level of debt will increase in the next few years has increased from 20.8% in pre-lockdown 2020 to 27.8% in early 2022.

This rise is most marked among the older generation, increasing from 20.6% to 31% for 35–54-year-olds and from 10.1% to 14.9% for the over-55s. In terms of gender, slightly more men than women feel their level of debt will increase ( 28.8% vs 26.8%).

 In addition, almost 85% of adults are aware of the price of goods and services increasing, with awareness growing by 11.8% for 35-54 year-olds.

While there is no significant difference in this awareness among genders, there is, however, a marked difference in the awareness of price between the younger and older generations: there is an increase of 4.9% among those aged 15-34, which leaps to an 11.8% increase among those aged 35-54; for those aged 55-plus, the figure is 9.7%.

Commenting on the findings, IPA research director Belinda Beeftink said: “What these new findings appear to show us is that, with finances tightening, people are having to buy what they can afford rather than having the luxury of choice.

“We can only imagine, with rising inflation levels and the clouds of a recession beginning to bubble up, that such stats will become bleaker. For any brands and their agencies navigating this, it may be prudent to focus their comms activity on asserting value for money, on staples vs luxury items and on being seen to be in tune and supportive of their consumers at this tough time.”

IPA president Julian Douglas added: “The past few years have been extraordinary, with the pandemic affecting every corner of our lives. And now we have a cost-of-living crisis, throwing us into further disarray. Making sense of this as advertisers, agencies and individuals has become even more challenging.”