E-cigarettes and sports nutrition are fastest-growing supermarket products in 2014, reports Nielsen

E-cigarettes, sports nutrition and “free-from” are the fastest-growing products in UK supermarkets by sales volume, according to the latest data from global information and insights company Nielsen.

Volume sales of e-cigarettes are up 49.5% year-on-year, followed by sports nutrition bars, powders and shakes (up 42.8%).

The rise of e-cigarettes has seen an accompanying 6.1% decline in volume sales of nicotine replacement products such as patches and gum.

Fastest-growing grocery products 2014

The rise of free-from
Free-from products were the third fastest growing category by sales volume, up 15.4%.

Dairy-free milk brand Alpro, up 20.3% in sales value, is now the third largest brand in milk. Gluten-free bread Genius also soared (by 49%), as Nestle became the latest multi-national to enter the free-from market in the UK following Warburtons (2011) and Heinz (2013).

Key macro purchasing trends
Britons are expected to spend £145bn at the UKs largest supermarkets in 2014 – projected to be down -0.7% vs. 2013.

Bread (-8.9%) and soup (-7.9%) are seeing the biggest decline in sales volumes, reflecting changing shopper purchasing behaviour. Nielsen identifies four key macro themes on the changing supermarket landscape:

  • Falling inflation becoming deflation in food and drink at the end of 2014 which has led to falling sales values in many packaged food categories
  • Consumers shopping at a wider selection of supermarkets, discounters, other value retailers (such as Poundland) and at different store formats including online
  • Shoppers buying traditional staples such as bread, soup, hot drinks and canned goods at the discounters Aldi and Lidl, attracted by cheaper price messaging but also the wish to economise but not compromise, including choosing private label
  • Savvy shopping to save money to then be able to buy more indulgent goods or specialist or personal care items of choice