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article image1 in 4 people in U.K. using savings to buy food

By Leigh Goessl     Mar 5, 2012 in Food
A new report about to be published by a consumer group in the U.K. indicates 1 in 4 individuals are taking money from their savings to buy food.
The report findings, conducted by Which?, surveyed close to 2,100 U.K. adults in Nov. 2011 and conducted 20 in-depth interviews.
Wales Online reported the survey done by Which? found 1 in 3 people "are struggling to get by" and 36 percent said things were difficult financially; this was compared to 16 percent in 2006.
Only 43 percent of those surveyed said they feel they can live on their salaries, and 1 in 5 participants said they are going into debt in order to cover their basic expenses. With 19 percent saying they've gone into debt, another 10 percent anticipate going into debt in order to pay for everyday items, such as food.
One of the problems cited was the increases in food prices. In Nov. 2011 The Telegraph reported people living in the U.K. saw an increase of 6.4 percent in their weekly food shopping expenses, almost double the average EU increase of 3.3 percent.
According to the The Mirror, Which? executive director Richard Lloyd cautioned, “Over half of UK consumers are not coping on their current incomes. Worryingly, one in five people told us they had gone into debt just to buy food and other essential goods. We already know struggling consumers are worried about rising food and energy prices, and are making significant changes.”
In the The Mirror article, it was noted 4 in 10 people surveyed indicated they have begun socializing at home because of the economic downturn, noting the "financial crisis has forced a quarter of Britons to dip into savings just so they can eat."
This presumably may have an economic impact on other niches of the food and beverage industry as people are scaling back in spending time in restaurants and/or going to the pub, due to the fact people simply cannot afford to patron food and beverage shops.
Although a different survey relating to restaurants and pubs showed people were still engaging in these activities during the last six months of 2011. That survey, published in Dec. 2011, however, did note the next several months would be challenging for the industry, as 38 percent surveyed indicated they expected "to be worse off in the next six months."
In the Which? survey results, it was also reported many are turning to online options to reduce food costs.
This news comes at the same time The Wall Street Journal reported supermarket giant Tesco plans to create 20,000 jobs. The WSJ said, "U.K. consumer spending has remained relatively resilient but recent figures from Kantar Worldpanel suggested that the U.K.'s largest grocers are losing market share as consumers buy more food from discount retailers such as German companies Aldi and Lidl."
Several media sources reported the Which? report will be released this week.
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