UK shoppers cut back on grocery brands – but not tea and coffee

Shoppers are cutting back on buying branded goods, a report has revealed – but are refusing to skimp on own label tea.

Shoppers are buying fewer branded goods

Spending on branded grocery items has dropped by £10.13 a week as consumers tighten their belts, research has revealed.

The consumer prices index shows food and alcohol prices have increased, which in turn has pushed inflation higher. At the same time, consumers have started to spend less.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In 2018 consumers were spending £76.26 a week on groceries, £33.42 of which was spent on branded items such as Heinz Ketchup and Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.

In 2019 consumers are spending £64.69 a week on groceries, £23.39 of which is spent on branded items.

Branded items make up £10.13 of the £11.57 reduction in spending, according to the report.

However, when shoppers were asked if there were any branded items they would always buy, despite money being tight, tea and coffee came top, with 45 per cent of consumers refusing to give up their favourite cuppa.

This was followed by washing powder brands such as Ariel and Lenore and shampoos and conditioners such as Head & Shoulders and Herbal Essences.

Adam Bullock, UK director of, which published the report, said: “With supermarkets offering similar alternatives to household brands for much lower prices and the rise in popularity of discount stores like Aldi and Lidl, it’s not surprising to see a reduction in the amount of money being spent on branded items.”

Although 97 per cent of consumers buy branded items in their weekly shop, 96 per cent say they would switch to cheaper alternatives if money was tight.

However, more than a third of consumers would rather go without an item than use an alternative to their favourite brand. A similar number have taken a branded item on holiday for fear it would not be available at their destination.

The branded items consumers are quick to give up 
are confectionaries including McVitie’s biscuits and 
Walkers crisps, condiments such as Heinz Ketchup and Hellman’s mayonnaise and cleaning products including Cillit Bang and Domestos bleach.

Meanwhile more than three-quarters say they have switched from premium to cheaper supermarket brands such as Tesco Finest to Tesco Value ranges – and half have bought items close to their sell-by date that have been reduced in price.