Waitrose’s Britain: A nation of craft beer-drinking lovers of premium artisan foods

Britain is increasingly becoming a nation of gin and craft beer-drinking ‘premium artisan’ foods lovers, according to sales at Waitrose. 


Britains who shop at the supermarket are opting for more premium and British produce this year as provenance became increasingly important in the wake of growing concerns over the origin of products.

In particular, sales of organic meat were up 17 per cent, with sales of Waitrose’s Duchy Originals range increasing 52 per cent and Hereford beef sales more than doubling. Meanwhile, sales of British apples, watercress and strawberries also rose.

The supermarket chain also found that sales of what it describes as “premium artisan” products were up 16 per cent this year Waitrose says it stocks more than 2,500 lines sourced from 600 local producers.

Heather Jenkins, Waitrose agricultural director, says: “What we ate in 2013 was shaped by a clear focus on provenance. As the spotlight shone on the relationship between supplier and retailer, the public wanted to know more about where their food comes from.”

Waitrose ran a marketing campaign this year with the strapline “The story of…” to highlights its British produce. Rivals such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s have also communicated the provenance and story behind their products, particularly in campaigns for their “Finest” and “Taste the Difference” ranges.

The taste for British also crept into the drinks market. Sales of regional beers and ales were up 24 per cent, with craft brewers Brew Dog and Innis & Gunn seeing sales rise by 50 per cent.

Gin also proved popular, with sales up 12 per cent driven by premium brands such as Hendrick’s. In the wine market, Chardonnay sales were up 16 per cent.

Pierpaolo Petrassi, Waitrose head of wines, beers and spirits, says: “Craft beers and regional beers and ales were top of the hops.”

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