My Soapbox: Marcus Vallance, IRI

IRI’s Head of Wholesale & Foodservice discusses the results of recent consumer research conducted by IRI SalesOut, revealing how inflation is impacting buying habits, and how wholesalers can utilise these findings to grow sales

We know that UK shoppers are making significant and rapidly evolving changes to buying habits in reaction to the cost inflation challenge. Recent research has shown how shoppers are changing their behaviours, with half of consumers surveyed revealing they had changed where they buy their groceries in the last three months – this increased to 65% when looking at under-24s specifically and 86% of students.

With rising inflation compounded by disposable incomes projected to fall by 7% over the next two years, we’re already experiencing a large number of consumers switching from branded to own-label products.


The on-trade and foodservice channels within wholesale are the worst affected by inflation as these out-of-home experiences are traditionally more expensive and will become less frequent for consumers with stricter budgets.

Through our deep relationships with our wholesale partners, we help to identify the parts of business where the headroom for growth is greatest or those parts of the business where additional assistance may be needed. We can help them to look ahead and spot opportunities, such as expanding own-label ranges to meet a specific price point for retailers catering to a younger audience.

Providing wholesalers with access to the breadth and range of knowledge we can offer, in easily accessible formats, allows them to use this data and share it across their business, ensuring they go on to make better informed decisions.

Top tips

  • It’s important for wholesalers to understand which categories they are more price competitive in. Wholesalers can use our Price Optimisation solutions to help determine which areas can sustain a price increase and which will help avoid losing business.
  • Wholesalers should ensure they are stocking products that will help operators create experiences their guests can’t get at home, for example, improving the entertainment factor or offering premium products that aren’t found in supermarkets, such as cocktails.
  • Wholesalers and suppliers alike are seeking more value and insight from us to combat and plan against ever-changing and unpredictable market conditions. Wholesalers should use data for their promotional strategies to allow them to continue offering value to customers even when prices are rising. Wholesalers should ensure seasons are still supported and continue to push supplier investment.
  • We want to help wholesalers understand PMP rationalisation through analytics. Our latest PMP market review shows that a smaller core range of PMP offerings should result in additional spend and distribution. Wholesalers should look out for new optimised prices and be willing to move away from 99p or £1 PMPs to ensure they’re generating profit.