Photo courtesy of M&S Food

M&S Food puts price lock on 100-plus items as Family index reveals struggles of shoppers

Produce Business report

Sensing the need to continue delivering quality products to consumers at lower prices, M&S Food has extended its price lock on more than 100 items through the end of spring, including some fruits and vegetables.

A 300g pack of British White Mushrooms is listed for £1, while 750g of Select Farms Easy Peeler satsumas and a four-pack of Granny Smith apples are both remaining at £2.

According to M&S’ Family Matters Index, value is the No. 1 factor for 61% of shoppers in deciding which supermarket they’ll spend their money. That has been seen throughout the pandemic and notably in the past year with inflation and energy costs still keeping budgets tight.

“Listening to customers right now, value remains firmly top of the list,” Alex Freudmann, Managing Director at M&S Food, said. “That’s why our priority is delivering our trusted value promise – offering the best possible quality at the best possible price. By extending our price lock until summer, we’re giving customers certainty on the products they love to shop.”

M&S Food did not reveal the complete list of items but many are everyday staples, such as bread, cereal, canned fish and cleaning products. To stay competitive against other chains, including deep discounters, M&S is keeping the promotion going along with its Remarksable pricing.

“Customers shopping our Remarksable products can be confident each is price benchmarked against key competitors but still sourced to the highest standards,” Freudmann said. “We’ll never compromise on that.”

Inside the Index

The M&S Family Matters Index, done quarterly, assesses consumer sentiment, financial wellbeing and their intentions as they prepare to head out for shops. There numbers reveal just how nervous they are. Although prospects are slightly better than they were in September of last year:

  • Less than 40% said they were optimistic about their financial prospects and their families’ prospects this year.
  • More than 50% are still concerned about their future finances
  • More than 60% have stopped eating out since the start of the year
  • A robust 40% said they will be spending less this summer (although many are still planning to take holidays.)

One interesting aside is that the majority of shoppers are watching food waste and sustainability. According to the most recent survey, 68% are trying to be environmentally conscious – with 73% saying they are trying to eliminate food waste and 70% avoiding single-use plastic. More than 50% who do purchase items want to know that they are sustainably sourced, perhaps an opportunity for retailers to showcase and promote items in store through signage that meet that criteria.

Whatever retailers can do to assist, it is clear that customers need a little boost. Only 29% said the past six months have been very positive. That’s as low as it has been since M&S started the surveys back in March 2021. The most staggering statistic is 83% – the percentage of those surveyed who believe the cost of living is too high. For those who have stopped eating out, the vast majority are cooking from home. About a quarter of those have turned to ready-made meals.

While value was the overwhelming top concern for consumers, a small percentage noted the importance of convenience and customer service. Strong positions on employment, inclusion and profiles on social media barely got any responses. It is clear what customers want – good quality at competitive prices.

To that end, M&S has launched a series of Dine-In Deals, including a pizza night for £12 that includes enough food for four. Customers can select two pizza (vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free too) plus two sides, one of which is a Mushroom Arancini and Sweet and Crunchy Salad.

“Customers are also looking to M&S to help make those family meals together more special, and more affordable,” Freudmann said. “Our Dine In is all about that – restaurant quality food at a fraction of the price.”



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