Morrisons wins over ethical food shoppers


Morrisons’ “buying British” positioning has given it the ethical edge over rivals including Waitrose and Tesco, attracting recession-hit responsible shoppers.

According to a new survey carried out by Responsible Research, Marks & Spencer topped the list in terms of the number of consumer purchases that were responsibly motivated in some way. This was followed by The Co-operative Food and then Sainsbury’s.

However, industry observers say the biggest surprise in the latest findings is that Morrisons has come ahead of Waitrose.

Significantly, the report reveals that Morrisons has been able to successfully marry a value-based and ethical product range for responsible shoppers who are also tightening their purse strings because of the recession.

Mike Godliman, director of retail consultancy Pragma, says: “The market has changed in Morrisons’ direction and buying British is now seen as a key driver of buying responsibly.

“Morrisons has always had a very strongly local, British and fresh produce offer, and in the past two years it has emphasised this in its marketing.”

Tesco and Asda on the other hand lagged behind in the survey, with a low percentage of purchases motivated by responsible consumerism.

Maureen Hinton, head of retail at Verdict Research, says because Asda and Tesco have been pushing hard their value credentials through the recession, they have been attracting price-led shoppers.

Morrisons group marketing and communications director Angus Maciver says: “It’s something that other supermarkets looked on as old fashioned, but the locally sourced approach is very much the fashion now. It’s come full circle and we’ve combined great British food it with good value prices to make it accessible to everyone.”

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