Lager tops charts of fastest growing grocery categories for 2020

Brits put an extra £2.1 billion worth of lager, wine, spirits in their supermarket trollies this year, according to the latest Nielsen data.

The fastest growing grocery category of 2020 was lager, up £791.9 million to be worth £4.4 billion and the lager brand which recorded the most growth throughout the year was Stella Artois, as consumers sought out multi-packs of well-known brands for at-home consumption. Stella sales were up 17.9% in value terms, equating to growth of £104.9 million.

San Miguel also had a good year through the off-trade with sales up by £92 million (up 62.7%) while Budweiser sales grew by 18.2% (£73.9 million). And despite its name, Corona was another one of the lager brands to see strong growth – up by £68 million.  

Wine and spirits also saw massive gains of £717.4 million and £566.8 million respectively.

Beers, wines and spirits grew ahead of grocery, followed by strong growth in the meat categories as consumers looked to replicate meals they were unable to have out of the home, due to Covid restrictions in the hospitality sector. Some of the shift this year is attributable to consumers taking the roast dinner and BBQs in-house, and with hot school meals on hold as schools were closed, these dining experiences transferred to the home environment.

Categories that saw the biggest decline in sales through supermarkets in 2020 include cosmetics, bottled water, chilled ready meals, deodorants and toothbrushes.

Rachel White, Retail Intelligence Leader, UK & Ireland, Nielsen said: “It’s been a rollercoaster year for grocery retail. The pandemic has shifted consumer shopping habits to the extreme.

“With limited opportunities to socialise or visit bars and restaurants, consumers turned to scratch cooking not just as a way to feed the family but also as a source of entertainment - as we saw with the huge trends for homemade sourdough and banana bread and other recipes that went viral this year.

“With more free time at home, consumers moved away from chilled ready meal options and focused instead on creating their own dining experience at home, cooking with fresh ingredients and enjoying a drink at home rather than at the pub.”

White continues: “It’s not just food that is being impacted by this shift in response to the pandemic either. Reduced interactions and events, coupled with the wearing of face masks in public places has meant that the cosmetics category became one of the fastest falling categories of 2020. We also saw declining sales for products consumers would normally purchase on the go, such as bottled water or confectionery. But with the first roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine underway, there is renewed hope of a return to some kind of normality and we will be keeping a close eye on how these shopping behaviours evolve.”

The Nielsen Scantrack data (52 weeks to week ending September 5, 2020), was compiled for The Grocer magazine for its annual Top Products survey.

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