Life Food & Drink

Tuesday 18 December 2018

'NEVER shop around' - Shopping behaviourist on how to beat the clever supermarket marketeers

Photo: Stock Image
Photo: Stock Image
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Irish shoppers can save tens of euros every week by staying loyal to one supermarket, according to shopper behaviourist Ken Hughes.

The marketing expert, who has worked with supermarket brands to lure shoppers into buying more, says shopping around for grocery bargains can be counterintuitive.

“You’ll hear the ‘shop around’ thing - that you should always shop around. That might be true of car insurance, but with grocery stores it’s a myth.”

“There are people like me hired by supermarkets to influence you. If you go to one store, one shop, you’re avoiding the temptation that lies in every shop. If you go to a few shops, you might think you’re saving money, but you’ll end up spending more.”

“This idea of spend a little here, spend a little there... it won’t work. You’ll overspend.”

“The main thing that goes wrong is people buy on impulse, and suddenly you’ve overspent by 20pc.”

Follow your shopping list to the letter of the law, says Hughes.

"The first thing I would say is to go in with a plan. If you’re not shopping with a list, you’ll go ‘off list’.”

“Look at the special offers, the 'three meats for a tenner', or the vegetables that you can buy on offer and go and look up the recipes you can use with those.”

“You end up spending far less money by only buying the things that fit into your recipe plan.”

Shopping with a set amount of cash will also keep shoppers on course to spending within their budget, Hughes says.

“Using cash-only is a really good way to say ‘that’s my budget’. Some people use online shopping for that basis.”

“If you are someone that suffers from impulsivity a lot, online is much, much better. With kids it’s a good example of what happens when everything goes wrong, which is emotional instability.”

Hughes suggests: “Everyone knows that you don’t go shopping when you’re hungry. Hunger is actually an example of emotional instability, but you could also be shopping with kids and shopping after work and you could be tired and thinking 'I want to get out of this shop as quickly as possible'. If you do that over a number of days, you’re going to overspend.”

Own brand snobbery should be a thing of the past, for anyone who is looking to save, Hughes also suggests.

“That’s changing a lot in recent months and years, because supermarkets are going into producing high end brands that taste even better. Supervalu have won taste awards for their own lable products.”

You can find more of Hughes’ tips on how to become an even savvier shopper on

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