Published Tuesday, 22 January 2013
82% of NI consumers have changed their food shopping habits. (© Getty)
The NI Consumer Council's 'Hard to Stomach' report has found that 82% of people in the region have changed the way they shop, cook and eat because of the increasing cost of groceries.
Consumers are making 34% less impulse buys, 29% are buying less in general and 28% are planning meals more carefully to avoid waste, according to the watchdog.
"Some are simply buying less and doing without whilst others are trying to find savings elsewhere," the report said.
Consumer Council chief executive Antoinette McKeown said: "Our research has found that almost 87% of people are worried about the cost of their food and groceries and it's a concern that cuts across all ages, income brackets, cities, towns and villages."
The report also highlighted how some consumers are struggling to afford the cost of providing a healthy balanced diet for their families.
"We heard from parents and those with medical or dietary requirements in particular," Ms McKeown explained.
Nearly two-thirds (61%) of people felt supermarkets could do more to help, by charging a fair price and simplifying offers, as many consumers found deals and price promotions confusing.
By addressing some of these issues we hope to help consumers shop confidently and healthily and for less.
Antoinette McKeown, NI Consumer Council
"We will use our report to work with Government and food industry representatives to ensure that the consumer voice is heard and to address the issues raised by consumers," the Consumer Council chief said.
Glyn Roberts, NI Independent Retail Trade Association Chief Executive, who attended the launch of the report on Tuesday said its conclusions poses challenges for grocery retail members.
He said: "We will study in detail all of its conclusions and will continue to work with the Consumer Council to ensure our members provide food which is both sustainable, affordable and local at a time when pressure is on hard working families."
The launch of the report was supported by SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone, Chair of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) Committee.
Ms McKeown said: "We look forward to working with the DETI Committee, who are responsible for consumer affairs."