A review and a consumer survey which look at promotions used by the UK grocery sector and what effect they might have on food waste.
Promotions make up a third of grocery spend. As such, having a better understanding of the kind of promotions being used, and whether any link between promotions and household food waste exists is important to retailers, consumers and Local Authorities. The research can help retailers to design promotional strategies and product labelling that could help consumers to reduce food waste.
This report summarises the findings of a project undertaken with Kantar Worldpanel which reviewed how different promotional mechanics are used by the UK grocery sector and undertook a consumer survey to investigate the link between promotions and food waste.
Some of the key findings are:
- Temporary price reduction (TPR) is the most common form of promotion e.g. “50p off”.
- TPR was the dominant promotion for fresh produce, although salads had a much higher percentage of volume promotions.
- Buy one get one free (BOGOF) offers are found on a small percentage of products (<2%).
- The two products with high levels of volume promotion have quite a long shelf-life; around two weeks on average for yoghurt and around three weeks for chilled juice.
- Determining whether food bought on promotion ends up being wasted is challenging. The tentative results from the in-home part of this research suggest that food bought on promotion is not more likely to be wasted, at least for the products investigated.
- Whilst 44% of consumers agreed with the general statement that “buying food on offer leads to more food being thrown away”, just 4% say more is thrown away when food they buy food on special offer.
- Different types of promotion may suit different households. This research shows that larger households are more likely to buy food on a volume promotion (such as bread and yoghurts), whereas small households are more likely to buy on price reductions.
IGD research has shown the level of consumer opposition to multi-buys on fresh products has grown considerably, from 40% in 2009 to 56% at the end of 2010 (source: IGD Effective Promotions for Shoppers, December 2010), and almost half of shoppers claim that replacing multi-buy promotions with TPRs would help them reduce food waste (source: IGD What shoppers want: shopper-led innovation; October 2011).
This evidence could be used by retailers to help them in designing promotional strategies and product labelling that will help consumers reduce food waste. Highlighting what can be frozen, maximising shelf-life and having clear date labelling will all help ensure consumers get real value from promotions.