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Less sugar, more gin: survey reveals what shoppers are putting in their baskets

PUBLISHED: 07:39 19 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:40 19 March 2019

The Co-op has done a study analysing people's shopping habits. Picture: Alex Cantrill-Jones / ACJ Media

The Co-op has done a study analysing people's shopping habits. Picture: Alex Cantrill-Jones / ACJ Media

Are Norwich shoppers ditching the sugary drinks and Sunday roasts? This newspaper asked people what's going in their baskets.

What food items are in your shopping basket? Shopper Tom Hedges can afford less expensive items now he is a student. Pic: Ella Wilkinson, Archant.What food items are in your shopping basket? Shopper Tom Hedges can afford less expensive items now he is a student. Pic: Ella Wilkinson, Archant.

It wasn’t long ago when, if your shopping basket contained yoghurts and pasta, you were considered to be on a healthy diet. But not any more.

Instead, we are replacing these with gluten free products and even the good old Sunday roast is taking a hit as we try to eat less meat.

Not surprisingly we are buying less sugary drinks however we are buying more gin, according to new research looking at the detailed shopping habits of customers at the Co-op.

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Animal welfare and making sure farmers are not squeezed in terms of money in the supply chain has made Nathan Defew start buying more organic produce. Pic: Ella Wilkinson, Archant.Animal welfare and making sure farmers are not squeezed in terms of money in the supply chain has made Nathan Defew start buying more organic produce. Pic: Ella Wilkinson, Archant.

This newspaper asked members of the public what they thought. Dionne Smith said: “I’m buying more gin; pink gin or rhubarb and ginger, I think it’s because it’s so expensive to go out so there’s definitely more alcohol in my cupboards.

“I’m buying more coffee but I am drinking soya milk now, not full fat, and I am finding I am buying more vegan style food even though I’m not vegan, I think I’m into all the hype.”

Nathan Defew said: “When you go to the supermarket it’s an awareness of the organic stuff, that the animals are treated fairly. I tend to buy organic milk so you know the cows have been raised outside. I also notice products that have not been tested on animals such as soap, it’s about animals being treated fairly.”

Jenan Kharbush said she is now vegan. “I started eating less meat and then no meat. I thought it was healthier and better for the animals.”

Shopper Jenan Kharbush does not buy meat any more and is vegan. Pic: Ella Wilkinson, Archant.Shopper Jenan Kharbush does not buy meat any more and is vegan. Pic: Ella Wilkinson, Archant.

Tom Hedges said being a student had changed his shopping habits. “Now I have to buy my own food, I eat mainly rice and beans.”

The Co-op conducted a detailed analysis of every customer’s purchase over 2018 to find out trends and the findings were that sales of the ‘Free From’ range of gluten and wheat free items were up year on year. However, dairy sales fell by 2%; in particular yoghurts and ‘quick and easy’ pasta dishes were also found no longer to be in favour with a 12% drop in sales.

Also, while sales of meat remain strong, people are not buying the same amounts as they once were with meat joint sales falling the most – on average by as much as 40%.

The government’s war on sweet treats has also started to impact on the consumer with full sugar drink sales falling and instead bottled water sales increased by 4% year on year.

'I do like the occasional gin,' said Dionne Smith, who has also stopped buying full fat milk and drinks soya in her coffee. Pic: Ella Wilkinson, Archant.'I do like the occasional gin,' said Dionne Smith, who has also stopped buying full fat milk and drinks soya in her coffee. Pic: Ella Wilkinson, Archant.

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