Luxury is back on the menu
Apparently, indulgence is back at the checkouts. After months of buying economy tinned tomatoes and packets of lentils, shoppers are supposedly once again popping luxuries such as organic produce, ready-made meals and ground coffee into their trolleys.
According to Tesco, sales of its premium-priced Finest range are increasing again after a year of decline, while Waitrose reports a 50% jump in organic fish sales. And while last year saw budget supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi enjoy huge increases in sales, thanks to households trading down, old favourites like Sainsbury’s and even Waitrose are now back in the game. The latter has seen its annual sales growth rise from 3.4% between July and September last year, to 11.2% this year.
The reason indulgence is back on the menu is partly down to the marketing ploys of the supermarkets themselves. Jamie Oliver has been propagating ways to feed your family for a fiver in Sainsbury’s current advertising campaign, while Marks & Spencer and Tesco have promoted ‘meal deals’ where two people can enjoy a meal of three courses plus wine for just £10. Waitrose, meanwhile, has launched its first-ever budget range.
But the shift away from frugal food shopping also suggests that many of us are ready to move on from the recession, even though the return to economic prosperity still seems a long way off.
Although no one expects things to return to the days of unbridled consumerism, we all enjoy a little luxury. By using our money carefully most of the time, we can afford to forget all-out austerity and reintroduce a little frivolity into our lives.
So, continuing to make my own packed lunch means I might just treat myself to an organic steak at the weekend.