Almost half of consumers have said they will cut back on eating out and switch to supermarket own-brands to save cash, according to new research commissioned by delivered wholesaler Palmer & Harvey.

The research, conducted by Retail Economics in a survey of 2000 respondents, found that consumers were already feeling the impact of rising prices and intended to switch products, brands and supermarkets, as well cutting back on eating out in favour of regular home cooking.

Seventy three per cent said they would prefer to stay at home and cook a meal rather than eating out; while 47% said they would switch to cheaper supermarkets altogether, as well as switching to own-brands.

P&H managing director Martyn Ward said consumers were currently feeling the thin end of the wedge on rising prices, “yet an uncertain political and macroeconomic backdrop and a weaker outlook for personal finances means consumers are less optimistic about the future of the economy and are poised to tighten their belts as inflation outstrips wage growth”.

“Our research shows that it will be critical to the success of food and grocery retailers, wholesalers and suppliers to rapidly adapt to changing consumer behaviour, a shoppers shift towards own-label, cheaper alternatives and cut back on any non-essentials. Those that quickly grasp the opportunity to evolve their product mix and pricing will be the winners in this challenging environment.”


The research was revealed as the doors opened on this year’s Pro-retail at the Telford International Centre. The key theme was “your business, your future”, and featured five central themes: new products, best sellers, cost-saving, technology and footfall drivers - as determined by research on the types of advice retailers want from suppliers and wholesalers.

Highlights included the announcement of a new mobile app, which the company says is set to streamline the ordering process for retailers and is part of the next phase of development for the new transactional website which launched earlier this year.

Drinks direct

The company also announced the expansion of its Direct Van Sales operation with the launch of a new trial offer - Drinksdirect - in which it is working with key suppliers to provide retailers with both alcoholic and alcohol-free alternative products, via a nationwide fleet of vans. The trial initially launched in June 2016, but has proved so popular that the number of vans has risen from three to 10 and the distribution rate has nearly doubled.

Noel Robinson, managing director of Direct Van Sales, said: "Drinksdirect is an exciting new venture for P&H. The aim of the trial is to strength-test the development of a new avenue which fills a gap for our valued independent retailers, while also using our nationwide network and expertise, to gain distribution points for our key supplier partners.”

Delivering Hope

Another major announcement at Pro-retail was the launch of the initiative  ‘Delivering Hope’, which aims to raise the profile of missing people across the country.

Run in conjunction with Missing People, P&H - whose 1,000 vehicles making more than 55,000 delivers every week across the UK - will use its regional depots to dispatch vans displaying missing person appeals to raise the visibility of the search for information about that person when delivering to its customers in the area they were last seen.

The campaign will work with guidance from the police, and with P&H’s regional depots, to ensure the vans go on the road with the latest missing person posters as new appeals start.

Ward said: To our customers what matters is inside the vans. Yet the exterior is effectively a blank canvas that could be used to grab people’s attention and help those in the communities we serve. The Delivering Hope campaign allows us to use our extensive delivery network to help this hugely inspiring cause.”