Vienna – Austrians are buying less food – but spending on it has increased. The purchase volume in the first three months of the year was two percent below the values at the beginning of 2019, i.e. before the Corona crisis. At the same time, consumers are increasingly turning to promotional goods and going to discount stores more often, RollAMA data from the first quarter of 2023 shows.
Despite more effective use of promotions, the “RollAMA shopping basket” is, on average, 16.6 percent more expensive than a year ago, with an inflation rate (CPI) of about 9 percent. As households have reduced the amount they buy by 5 percent year over year, their spending on food purchases has “only” increased by 11 percent. Nearly one-third of grocery spending goes to the coffers of discount retailers.
Discounts are becoming more critical – half of the meat is purchased at a discount, sausage at one-third. “Debates around greater animal welfare are likely to continue for a long time in light of these developments. After all, with such price sensitivity and sold below their value, animal welfare products will have difficulty gaining market acceptance,” the RollAMA release states.
The sharp price increases in dairy products caused sales of yogurt to plummet by seven percent. Cheese and butter, however, remained in the shopping trolley of Mrs. and Mr. Austrian. Vegetable purchases fell by 8.5 percent, mainly because fruit vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers slumped by 17 percent.
No decline in organic purchases
On the other hand, the crisis did not lead to a decline in the organic share of purchases. 11.9 percent organic share is the second highest after Q1 2022, helped by the fact that the price difference between organic and conventional food has shrunk in most categories. Since 2019, the organic share of domestic food purchases has increased slightly with fluctuations.
The basis for the RollAMA (rolling agricultural market analysis) is the records of 2,800 households on their food purchases. Meat and poultry, sausage, milk and dairy products, cheese, fruit, vegetables, eggs, potatoes, frozen products, and ready meals, but not bread and pastries, are recorded.
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