Discounters’ meat strength can be countered

Aldi’s and Lidl’s fresh meat sales growth outstrips that of the top four supermarkets, but traditional grocery retailers could learn from them, according to Ed Garner, communications director, Kantar Worldpanel. 

Speaking at the Provision Trade Federation’s (PTF’s) annual lunch on 6 July about the ‘Perfect storm’ facing established grocery players, Garner said fresh meat was one of the discounters’ strongest categories. He based his comments on data covering the 52 weeks to 21 June.

The discounters were no longer perceived as “industrial sheds”, stocking low quality products, said Garner. “They are moving away from being ‘cheap-as-chips’ to selling quality food as cheap as chips.”

However, while independent retailers might not compete on price, they had other points of differentiation, such as specialist product knowledge, he said. “People may well go to a craft butcher because they get advice. That’s the last thing you get in Aldi and Lidl.”

One reason why Waitrose had achieved strong annual growth was because its employees were very knowledgeable about its products and offered excellent service, he added. “When you buy in Waitrose, they will give you the Christian name of the animal that has just been slaughtered.”

Powerful marketing could also boost top supermarkets’ performance, he said, citing AHDB Beef & Lamb’s consumer campaign to grow lamb sales among younger consumers as a good example. “Marketing is the answer, not thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, look at the low prices’.”

Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose took a 5.2% share, worth £6.2bn, out of the grocery market in the 52 weeks to 21 June, according to Kantar Worldpanel. However, the data also showed 91% of Aldi and Lidl shoppers were still shopping at traditional supermarkets.

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