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Waitrose customers turn to ‘comfort foods’ chicken Kyiv and beer-battered fish

Waitrose customers have turned to chicken Kyiv and beer-battered fish as they sought out familiar comfort food during the cost-of-living crisis, the supermarket said (Waitrose/PA)
Waitrose customers have turned to chicken Kyiv and beer-battered fish as they sought out familiar comfort food during the cost-of-living crisis, the supermarket said (Waitrose/PA)

Waitrose customers turned to chicken Kyiv and beer-battered fish as they sought out familiar comfort food during the cost-of-living crisis, the supermarket has reported.

The two dishes were the most popular in the Dine In Meal Deal over the last year as customers became “a little less adventurous”, according to the Waitrose 10th annual food and drink report.

A third of UK adults (32%) have regularly eaten classic dishes such as shepherd’s pie and macaroni cheese, a survey for the supermarket found.

The “humble spud” was also a big seller, with sales of potato side dishes up 19% – triple-cooked chips and potato dauphinoise the most popular – while sales of Waitrose’s Essential own-brand French fries and crinkle-cut chips increased by 80% and 34% respectively.

Even during the summer – albeit dominated by wet weather – customers found solace in ready-made roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings, with sales up 47% and 39% respectively.

Waitrose executive director James Bailey said: “This year, food inflation has changed not only how people shop, but also how they cook and eat.

“Price-conscious customers have been searching for the best value, switching more to own-label, buying bigger pack sizes, and looking to our promotions to cushion their bills.

“They’ve been simplifying their meal choices and becoming a little less adventurous, choosing familiar foods and recipes they find comforting. Chicken Kyiv and beer-battered fish are the most popular dishes in our Dine In Meal Deal.”

In other aisles, fermented foods became mainstream, with sales of kimchi and beetroot kimchi up 44% and 114% respectively.

One in eight adults (12%) also told Waitrose they have changed their diet over the past year to eat more protein, with sales of high-protein drinks and yogurts up 39% and cottage cheese up 14%.

Meanwhile, vegetable crisps suffered a 15% slump in sales, with customers turning back to regular potato crisps instead.

Waitrose de-listed its ready-made jacket potato with cheese on top as cost-conscious shoppers turned away from products they could easily create themselves.

A third of customers (30%) said they have switched from eating a low-fat dairy product to a full fat one, most commonly milk, followed by yogurt and cheese.

– OnePoll surveyed 2,000 UK adults in late October and November.