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What your shopping basket says about how you vote



What your shopping basket says about how you vote

For a unique take on the General Election, we asked more than 2,200 of our grocery panel households about their party support, and their level of concern about the economy and their personal finances. Linking these findings to their grocery shopping habits allows us to unpick the differences in the everyday lives and preoccupations of the various parties’ supporters.

When asked about whether they are confident or concerned about the economy, both generally and when it comes to their own finances, the results show Conservative supporters are the most confident about the UK economy overall and about the cost of their weekly shopping bills. The overall UK economy is the issue most often cited as a concern by Labour supporters, although SNP supporters are the most concerned of all party supporters.

The effects of Brexit are clearly playing on people’s confidence when it comes to personal finances. 24% of our sampled shoppers are very concerned about the prices of imported food from inside the EU (compared to just 8% who are confident). SNP supporters lead the way in their concern, being almost twice as concerned (index value 191) as the population at large, followed by Green party supporters (i=169), and Labour supporters (i=146). Shoppers are equally worried about the price of their annual holiday, with almost one quarter (23%) of shoppers registering themselves as concerned compared to 1 in 10 who are rather more sanguine. Labour and Lib Dems supporters are most concerned (i=156/130 respectively), Conservative voters and UKIPpers are the least concerned about how holiday prices will impact them.

Among Liberal Democrats supporters the biggest concern about the post-Brexit economic landscape is the potential rising cost of imported food from outside the EU. Conversely, more Conservative supporters are confident about the future of the weekly grocery bill by a margin of over two to one; a position at odds with supporters of every other party where concern is much greater.

At a more light-hearted level the findings also give us insight into what items the parties’ voters are likely to put in their shopping baskets:

  • Conservatives are showing their confidence with above average consumption of classic spirits like brandy, rum and whisky. Lib Dems aren’t letting their polling performance get them down, buying an incredible two times as much sparkling wine (Prosecco, Champagne, etc) as the average shopper. Despite trailing in the polls, Labour supporters, however, are buying less alcohol than the average shopper, and buying twice as much non-alcoholic beer as average shoppers.SNP supporters have a diverse palate, over-indexing on purchases of cider and white wine, while surprisingly under-indexing in purchases of whisky, buying less than every other party except the Lib Dems.
  • Those who say they’ll vote for Theresa May and the Conservatives buy more products from the alcohol and fresh fish categories. Showing a health conscious streak, they buy more healthcare products, beans, nuts, and prepared veg from the produce aisle.
  • Labour supporters put more toiletries into their trolley, and carbs such as pasta and rice are a big feature of their food shops. As well as the essentials, Labour voters also treat themselves to more soft drinks and crisps and snacks than average.  Like former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband, they’re fans of bananas, being more likely than most to pick them up on their trips to the fruit and veg aisle. Like their abstentious leader, they buy less alcohol than the average shopper.
  • Liberal Democrat supporters buy more than their fair share of fruit, veg and salad. They’re also fans of pickles and sauces and buy more hot drinks than others. In the produce aisle, they spend more on prepared fruit, and are particularly big fans of the middle class favourite du jour – avocados.
  • Again SNP supporters buy more alcohol than average, and treat themselves to more biscuits, confectionery, crisps and snacks, and soft drinks. Fans of the Scottish first minister will have been excited to see this year’s crop of new potatoes coming into store recently, with these being a big fixture in their produce favourites. The drinks choices of SNP supporters reveal a broad church within the party - cider, sparkling wine, and rose or white wine all feature.
  • When it comes to fresh produce, UKIP supporters prefer standard potatoes and melons. Perhaps a few UKIPpers own a British bulldog or two – as they spend more on pet care than the average shopper. They buy more alcohol, with ale, fortified wine like port, brandy, gin, vodka, whisky all making the shopping list, and they are much less likely to buy sparkling wine than average. They also buy more canned goods than other party supporters.

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Fraser McKevitt

Head of Retail and Consumer Insight


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