With eye on rising energy bills, Britons seek cheaper ways to cook -Kantar

Scales to weigh loose fresh produce are seen in the UK supermarket Asda in Leeds
Scales to weigh loose fresh produce are seen in the UK supermarket Asda in Leeds, Britain, October 19, 2020. REUTERS/Molly Darlington

LONDON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Faced with soaring energy bills, Britons are searching for cheaper ways to cook as they try to avoid using their ovens, market researcher Kantar said on Tuesday.

It said sales of cooking appliances including slow cookers, air fryers and sandwich makers, which generally use less energy, rose 53% in the four weeks to Sept. 4 year-on-year.

Kantar also noted that sales of duvets and electric blankets increased 8%, while sales of candles increased 9%, suggesting people may be preparing for possible winter blackouts.

Last week, department store chain John Lewis said Britons were stockpiling thermal underwear, gloves and dressing gowns.

Kantar said grocery inflation hit another new record of 13.9% in September with prices rising fastest in markets such as milk, margarine and dog food.

The rise means the average UK household is facing a jump of 643 pounds ($710) in their annual grocery bill to 5,265 pounds if they continue to purchase the same items.

With consumers looking to manage budgets, sales of supermarket own label lines increased by 8.1% in September, while sales of branded lines, which are generally more expensive, fell by 0.7%.

The market researcher said grocery sales rose by 4.8% in the 12 weeks to Oct. 2 year-on-year - masking a much larger drop in volumes once inflation is accounted for.

For the fifth month in a row discounter Lidl was the fastest-growing grocer, pushing up its sales 20.9% over the 12 weeks, marginally ahead of rival Aldi whose sales rose 20.7%.

Kantar also highlighted an 18% surge in sales of marmalade in September as Britain mourned the death of Queen Elizabeth, in reference to the late monarch's link with Paddington Bear.

UK grocers' market share and sales growth (%)

Source: Kantar

($1 = 0.9058 pound)

Reporting by James Davey in London Editing by Matthew Lewis

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