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Brits put price before patriotism

News, 13 April 2017
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LONDON: Almost one quarter of Britons say they are more likely to try to buy British food in order to support the domestic economy after the UK leaves the EU, but they won't do so at any price a new survey indicates.

YouGov interviewed 2,040 UK adults online for its Buying British report, which explores consumers' opinions on buying British, including whether Brexit has impacted on their shopping choices.

This found that many people are already looking to buy British foods and products. Seven in ten (71%) said they try to purchase British food when they can, with almost three quarters (73%) doing so to support domestic farmers.

More generally, two thirds (66%) preferred to buy British products where possible, with seven in ten (69%) opting for these to help British businesses.

And in the wake of the Brexit vote, 23% of consumers said they were now more likely to try and buy British food, while 17% were more likely to try to purchase British products.

But if prices rise, many will look for cheaper foreign alternatives, the research suggested.

If the cost of British food increased by 10%, three in ten people who look to buy it would choose foreign produce instead. If the price went up by 25%, six in ten (60%) would stop buying British and instead get the equivalent from abroad.

As might perhaps be expected, much of the allegiance to buying British comes from older consumers.

The study found that more than eight in ten (83%) people aged 55+ prefer to get British food where possible, but the figure falls to 57% for 25-34 year-olds and 62% among 18-24 year-olds.

It is a similar story when it comes to British products: 79% of people aged 55+ look for British products first, compared to 60% of 25-34 year-olds and 57% of 18-24 year-olds.

Kate Fillery of YouGov observed that talk of boosting the economy of the UK by buying British appeared to be hitting home with a large number of consumers.

"However, with inflation increasing and household finances coming under pressure, for all the desire to buy British, many are willing to turn their back on domestically produced food and products if prices rise," she said.

Kantar Worldpanel reported a 2.3% year-on-year rise in UK grocery prices in the 12 weeks to March 26 and predicted a further rise in food inflation, a development that may well benefit German discount chains Aldi and Lidl at the expense of mainstream supermarkets.

Data sourced from YouGov, Marketing Week; additional content by WARC staff

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