Soup sales up as rainy spring affects spending


By Mitchell LabiakBusiness reporter

Getty images Woman eating soupGetty images

One of the rainiest springs on record boosted warm soup sales while denting those for sun cream, new figures suggest.

The wet weather caused the slowest monthly increase in grocery sales in two years as people were “put off from popping to the shops”, according to research firm Kantar.

The cost of living also played a role in the decreased spending, with nearly a quarter of households surveyed by the company saying they were still struggling.

However, Kantar also recorded a big jump in financially “comfortable” households because of slowing price rises and predicted a boost in spending from the Euros.

“The cost of living crisis isn’t over – far from it,” said Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt.

“However, there are positive signs that many of us no longer feel the need to restrict our spending quite so much,” he added.

According to Kantar’s analysis, its measure of grocery price inflation was 2.1% over the four weeks to 9 June and it said this was the 16th monthly period in a row the figure had fallen.

It said this contributed to a rise in people feeling better about their finances, with over one-third of the 10,500 people it surveyed describing their financial position as comfortable, the highest figure since November 2021.

Despite the improving shopper sentiment, the washout spring dampened spending — particularly for products associated with warm weather.

Sales of sun care items slumped by a quarter and prepared salad sales fell by more than a tenth, Kantar said.

Warm fresh soup sales jumped by almost a quarter, but this wasn’t enough to increase grocery sales overall.

The Office for National Statistics recently said that wet weather had dampened consumer spending and activity in the construction industry in April.

Climate change means that extreme weather conditions are more likely, though scientists say it is difficult to pin any particular weather pattern on the warming climate.

Meanwhile, Kantar predicts a spending jump because of the Euros football tournament — and not just at pubs and restaurants, but with a 40% leap in beer and cider promotions at shops in the last four weeks.

“Retailers will be competing with fans heading out of the house to watch the football as well as with each other,” said Mr McKevitt.

The Kantar data also revealed which supermarket chains are succeeding in the competition to attract more shoppers.

It said Ocado was the fastest growing grocer for the fourth month in a row, with sales up over a tenth. Lidl was the second-fastest.

Tesco, the largest supermarket chain in the UK, further boosted its market share over the same period.

The wins came at the expense of Asda, the Co-Op, smaller chains and independent supermarkets, whose market share fell.

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