Tinned pasta has knocked toilet rolls off the top spot as the most wanted shopping item in the UK, new data shows.

Analysts at global retail insights firm Edge by Ascential say cans of pasta were the most unavailable item across UK supermarkets last week, with an average of 38.3% kinds out of stock, up 5.1% on a week earlier.

Toilet paper was still in high demand, however, with an average of 38% of lines out of stock, up 0.5% on the week before.

In third place was frozen pastry and dough (32.5%), which was the biggest climber on the week with 14% of products out of stock compared to the previous week.

Edge by Ascential’s COVID-19 Essential Items Tracker looked at the percentage of products in stock or unavailable (out of stock) in Morrisons, Asda, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose on a daily and weekly basis.

This revealed that Asda and Ocado saw only small rises in out-of-stock items overall (0.5% and 1.4%) compared to the previous week. Both recorded rises in dried pasta being out of stock, but for toilet paper their experiences were different – Asda saw a rise of 5.3% in unavailable products, but Ocado out-of-stock lines fell by 6.4%.

The biggest jump in unavailable products was at Morrisons – a rise of 2.1% across all its supermarkets. In particular, there were shortages of kitchen towels (-11.1%) and tinned pasta (-20%). For other in-demand categories, Morrisons saw stocks rise: toilet paper (+10.5%), dry pasta (+9.4%), cleaning products (+5.7%) and frozen meat and poultry (+13.8%).

Across all supermarkets, other lines to see big falls in availability were tinned meals (+11.2%) and frozen sausages (+9.2%), which saw the second and third biggest rise in unavailability compared to the previous week. Frozen fruit (- 9.6%), bleach (-6.8%) and rice (-5.4%) saw the biggest falls in unavailability.

Meanwhile, market intelligence firm IRI’s consumer spending tracker, which looks at trends across the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, New Zealand and Netherlands, revealed Easter chocolate sales were down in the US, Italy, France and the UK, while proteins were up.

Many Europeans have also been out enjoying the recent sunshine, it seems – in the UK, sun-care sales were up 149.1%, along with cider (+83.7%) and beer (+62.2%), and, presumably with barbecues in mind, lamb sales soared by 115.9%. Sun-care rose too in France and Germany, while Italians bought more hair colouring products (+160.6%), along with shaving/hair removal (up 125.87%).

Overall, consumers across all markets continue to spend more on edibles and less on non-edible categories. Also notable is the strong growth of e-commerce in France, Spain and Italy.

Sourced from Edge by Ascential, IRI