Survey suggests no such thing as an average shopper

A survey of nearly 6500 consumers for Sainsbury’s has revealed there is no such thing as the average shopper. 

In the interests of learning more about consumer buying patterns, the UK’s third largest food retailer conducted a substantial survey of shoppers from across the UK during the four weeks of June this year.

The largest probe of its kind, spanning customers of all supermarkets, it reveals that while shoppers purchased a similar number of items – on average 42 a week – the choice of items varied, especially between regions.

Fresh produce and bakery, the categories most closely aligned with agriculture, account for nearly 60% of the items bought by shoppers on a weekly basis.

Of the top ten items purchased weekly bananas are the only non-indigenous crop listed ranking second only to milk. 

Strikingly, chicken is the only meat listed occupying last place with 53% of consumers buying it each week.  Closer inspection reveals that Scots are the biggest consumers of meat on a weekly basis with nearly one in two (48%) shoppers buying beef and two thirds (66%) buying chicken each week.

The survey revealed that consumers in the north east are the biggest eaters of pork – bacon, sausages and gammon – of any region in the UK consuming 33% more than the average shopper. 

The Scots go crazy for biscuits and sweets underlining their position as the UK’s biggest eaters of indulgence food.  Those in the central Midlands are the biggest buyers of ready meals and frozen vegetables.  By contrast those in the wider regions of the Midlands are the biggest eaters of baked beans while East Anglians are fanatical about crisps and sugary sweets with six out of ten shoppers buying crisps, snacks and nuts every week.

The Welsh are the healthiest nation in the UK consuming more fresh fruit than any other region.  Research reveals that 94% of Welsh shoppers put some kind of fruit in their basket each week, and an average four types.

Unlike other regions of the UK where bananas and berries dominate, a selection of seasonal treats such grapes, melons and nectarines were the most popular in the region.

Wales was also the top region for sales of pre-prepared salad and vegetables.  A healthy 92% (on par with the national average) of Welsh shoppers pick up vegetables each week, but are more likely to than the rest of us to choose salad and vegetables pre-washed and cut.

Top 10 items in the UK shopping basket
(Percentage denotes the proportion of people that buy these items each week)

  Item  Percentage
 1  Milk  74
 2  Bananas  68
 3  Potatoes  65
 4  Tomatoes  64


Apples   63 
 6 Eggs and Onions  61 (respectively)  
 7 Green vegetables  60 
 8  Cheddar cheese  58
 9 Lettuce    55
 10 Chicken and butter/spreads  53   (respectively)