Real choice in food grocery shopping in Britain

Ian Clarke, Alan Hallsworth, Peter Jackson, Ronan J. De Kervenoael, Rossana Perez Del Aguila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the European Retail Digest, Tenbusch (2002) advised us that, "over the last decade, only discounters have been able to achieve significant revenue growth". The most casual observer of the retail scene in Europe would quickly realise that the author was most certainly not writing about Britain. Indeed he compared the situation in Germany with Britain by noting that grocery prices in the former were on average 20% lower. Interestingly, it was, at least in part, just those types of price comparison data that sparked the current British debate on the state of our market for food shopping. Soon, however, there were other factors brought into consideration. Market power of supermarket/ superstore operators, prices offered to small local farmers, the apparent permanent global summertime for food, food miles and eco-efficiency all became part of the debate. What might be the competing influence of any or all of these factors in the name of better 'choice' for consumers? Are British consumers really being offered better choice compared to what was available in the early 1980s, and might that explain the price differential with Germany and other countries? Or are we simply not comparing like with like? Indeed, as we will shortly argue, can we generalise about Britain at all when we accept, for example, that the Scottish market IS different?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Retail Digest
VolumeAutumn 2003
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2003


  • retail
  • Europe
  • Britain
  • Germany
  • grocery prices
  • price comparison
  • market
  • food shopping
  • market power
  • supermarket
  • superstore
  • prices
  • small local farmers
  • permanent global summertime
  • food
  • food miles
  • eco-efficiency


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