THE surging cost-of-living is altering our shopping and eating habits as consumers make every effort to tighten the purse strings in these challenging times.


What’s happening?
We all know the cost-of-living is rocketing, from the price of fuel at the pump to energy in our homes. Now new research from The Fraser of Allander Institute finds a third of Scots are reducing expenditure on food and essentials, with more than half spending less on non-essential items. It ties in with figures from data analysis firm Kantar which found bills at the supermarket rose by 8.3 per cent in the past month up on the same period last year as inflation increased to its highest point in 13 years.


And now?
Kantar say based on this, the average grocery bill will rise by £380 this year. 


Shoppers are changing practices. As well as discount stores such as Lidl and Aldi seeing growth surges - 9.5% and 7.9% respectively in the 12 week run-up to June - shoppers who stick to their traditional supermarkets are switching to cheaper own-label brands. Kantar say branded item sales have fallen by 1% and own-labels gone up by 12%.


As well as brand shifting?
Shoppers are also turning to cheaper frozen foods. Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts said in a recent interview that consumers are watching “every penny and every pound”, adding that “areas like frozen are increasing”. Market analysis firm NielsenIQ found frozen poultry sales were up 12% in the four weeks to June, for example.


The use of technology in store is on the up, such as self-scanning items to avoid “till shock”, Roberts told Reuters, allowing shoppers to be price aware as they move around the store.


Buy for now, not for later?
That’s another new trend, with shoppers purchasing for now only. Tesco CEO Ken Murphy said: “What we are seeing are higher frequency shopping trips. So there’s an elevation in the number of shopping trips and we are seeing basket sizes coming down a little bit.”


And we are opting for staples?
Cheaper cupboard stables are up as diets return to basics to accommodate cost - rice and grains rose 11% and canned beans and pasta rose 10% and 9%.


Shoppers are also setting limits?
Asda’s CEO, Lord Stuart Rose, said last week that shoppers are setting themselves £30 limits at the petrol pumps and also at the checkouts. He told the BBC: “What we’re seeing is a massive change in behaviour. People are trading back. They are worried about spending. They’ve got a limit that they’ve set out, too. They say £30 is one limit…and if they get to more than £30 then that’s it, stop.”


Any other key trends?
Loyalty cards are aiding purchasing practices as shoppers look for cut prices and points accumulation to make grocery shopping more worthwhile. Kantar said 42% of us are using loyalty schemes in store.


It’s global?
A survey by delivery experience platform Sorted, which surveyed 2,000 people in the UK and the US, found that 82% said they were are more money conscious now due to inflation, while 63% said they spent less online and in shops than they did a year ago.