Brits are spending less money on food – but are not as prepared as their European neighbours to give up on dining out, research has revealed.
An in-depth survey of 12,000 adults from the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland and Greece found how different nations are adopting a variety of tactics when it comes to food to help ease the cost-of-living crisis.
Surprisingly, the French – renowned for their ‘bon viveur’ culture of fine dining – were among the most willing to cut back on eating out (40 per cent), compared to 38 per cent of Germans and just 31 per cent of Brits.
And 47 per cent of respondents in Greece – another country with a proud culinary tradition – said they were eating at restaurants less often.
Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of French adults have stopped ordering as many takeaways too, which is also higher than the UK (23 per cent), the Netherlands (18 per cent) and Germany (17 per cent).
This comes as 45 per cent of Brits admitted they were worried they will have to compromise on the quality of their purchases, and more than a quarter were also worried about having to do so with the health and environmental impact of their food.
Current living costs are affecting habits
A spokesperson for Flora, which commissioned the research, said: "It's interesting to get a gauge on what the habits are when it comes to our food and spending habits.
"As we're seeing in the UK and across Europe, people are having to make difficult choices when it comes to dealing with the cost of living.
“We want to provide value for consumers with products that don’t compromise on performance or taste but there are small habits we can change to try to help with rising costs.
“One of the ways is switching out alternatives like dairy butter in place of substitutes such as Flora 100 per cent natural ingredients, which can alleviate some of the difficulties whilst also doing your bit for the planet.
"In the UK and Ireland, Flora 100 per cent Natural Ingredients has at least 50 per cent less climate impact than dairy butter."
Getting creative with available options
The study also found 43 per cent of Brits are now buying less in their food shop to ease the cost of living crisis.
Other common tactics included buying reduced priced goods (40 per cent) and planning meals more (40 per cent).
Cutting back on takeaways (30 per cent) and freezing food (28 per cent) were also popular measures.
While 27 per cent are making swaps in their diet, such as changing butter for margarine and spreads, while others are buying more frozen produce (21 per cent) and bulk-buying (20 per cent).
And 11 per cent are switching to plant-based alternatives to reduce food costs.
When it comes to deciding what to buy, cost (76 per cent) was the highest consideration for Brits, along with quality (66 per cent) and taste (52 per cent).
In fact, across all European nations polled, cost ranked as the highest consideration when deciding which items to buy for their food shops.
In France, 38 per cent said they were buying less in their food shop, but it drops to only 28 per cent in Germany, and 32 per cent in Poland.
Half of Poles are now planning their meals more – but this drops to just 32 per cent in both the Netherlands and Greece.
A spokesperson for Flora added: “There are some interesting trends developing across the continent, and every country polled seems to have a different way of dealing with the pressures they face.
“It shows there are different ways which we can get creative with the options we have available – and hopefully we can take some inspiration from others.
“We’ve shared some of our top tips and ways shoppers might be able to avoid simply buying less in their weekly basket.”
Flora’s tips for saving money on the weekly food shop
- Look out for reduced priced goods - Many do this already, presumably because it’s one of the times it might be worth diverting from the shopping list to buy items which are nearing the end of their shelf life and have been reduced – you just have to remember to use them before they go off.
- Planning meals more - This helps you to avoid unnecessary waste as you can plan meals which use similar ingredients throughout the week.
- Freeze more of your food - This helps to avoid food going out of date before they can eat it, as freezing food can prolong the shelf life.
- Using loyalty cards in supermarkets - This can help consumers access deals on branded products to bring prices down even further
- Make swaps - Swap items, such as butter for better value spreads.
- Buy more frozen produce - This means items can then be defrosted in the refrigerator when you’re ready to use them.
- Bulk buying - It makes sense to buy larger packs and then defrost what you need.
- Don’t do the food shop when you’re hungry - This is a common way to get side-tracked from the shopping list and spend more than you need
- Switch to plant-based alternatives - This can potentially save you money so can be a great way to get value for money while also doing your bit for the planet.
Flora is offering coupons to customers to give them £1 off their next purchase of 450g or 1kg pots. For more information, click here.