Soup Sales Surge as Rainy Spring Affects Consumer Spending


One of the wettest springs on record has led to a significant increase in warm soup sales, while sales of sun cream have taken a hit, according to new figures.

Research firm Kantar reported that the wet weather caused the slowest monthly growth in grocery sales in two years, as people were deterred from frequent shopping trips.

The cost of living crisis also influenced spending patterns, with nearly a quarter of households surveyed indicating they were still struggling financially. However, Kantar noted a notable rise in financially “comfortable” households, attributed to slowing price increases and a predicted boost in spending due to the upcoming Euros football tournament.

Fraser McKevitt, Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight, commented, “The cost of living crisis isn’t over – far from it. However, there are positive signs that many of us no longer feel the need to restrict our spending quite so much.”

Kantar’s analysis showed grocery price inflation at 2.1% over the four weeks leading up to June 9, marking the 16th consecutive month of declining inflation. This trend contributed to an increase in the number of people feeling better about their finances, with over one-third of the 10,500 people surveyed describing their financial position as comfortable, the highest level since November 2021.

Despite improving financial sentiment, the rainy spring dampened overall spending, particularly on products typically associated with warm weather. Sales of sun care items dropped by 25%, and prepared salad sales decreased by over 10%. In contrast, warm fresh soup sales rose by nearly 25%, although this was not sufficient to boost overall grocery sales.

The Office for National Statistics recently noted that wet weather had negatively impacted consumer spending and activity in the construction industry in April. While climate change is making extreme weather more likely, scientists caution against attributing specific weather patterns to global warming.

Kantar anticipates a spending increase due to the Euros football tournament, with a notable 40% rise in beer and cider promotions in shops over the past four weeks. “Retailers will be competing with fans heading out of the house to watch the football as well as with each other,” McKevitt said.

The Kantar data also highlighted which supermarket chains are gaining traction in attracting more shoppers. Ocado emerged as the fastest-growing grocer for the fourth consecutive month, with sales up over 10%, followed by Lidl. Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, also increased its market share during the same period.

Conversely, the gains for these supermarkets came at the expense of Asda, the Co-Op, smaller chains, and independent supermarkets, which saw their market share decline.





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