A survey by BritainThinks, commissioned by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), has found that 73% of in-store shoppers say they usually or always purchase products that are on promotion when shopping, with a quarter (25%) of respondents suggesting that is there were no promotions, they would be concerned about the affordability of their shopping.

Nearly two thirds of participants (62%) also agreed that promotions are an important way to save money on food and drink, with nearly three quarters of participants (72%) wanting promotions to continue, finding them useful for saving money, stock up on food for the future and trying new products.

The findings come following news that the government remains committed to plans that would restrict promotions, including multibuys and buy-one-get-one-free deals.

Commenting on the findings, the FDF’s Chief Scientific Officer, Kate Halliwell, said: 

“The survey results clearly demonstrate that a large majority of in-store shoppers use promotions as a way to save money on their food and drink shopping. We’re extremely concerned that removing these promotions will add to the household’s food bill.

“There is evidence that during a recession, many people increasingly rely on promotions to help them save money (1). It’s predicted that the average shopping basket may increase by £600 (1) a year without promotions in retail. We have already seen evidence of rising food costs – at the start of lockdown we saw a spike of 2.4% increase in food prices, fuelled by a 15% fall in promotions which accounted for over half of this inflationary spike (2).

“We urge the Government to consider these findings as they press on with their plans to restrict retail promotions and think about the impact this may have on the shopping basket and for shoppers during an incredibly difficult economic time.”


1 Sugar Reduction: The evidence for action Annexe 4: An analysis of the role of price promotions on the household purchases of food and drinks high in sugar

2 – Institute for Fiscal Studies report on groceries price rise at start of lockdown fuelled by fall in promotions

3. BritainThinks was commissioned by FDF to conduct a survey to understand public attitudes and behaviours in relation to food and drink shopping. They surveyed a nationally-representative sample of 2,024 GB adults aged 18+, with data weighted to be representative by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade. Of the total sample, 1,748 were classified as in-store shoppers. Fieldwork was conducted online between 8th and 10th January 2021.

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