Every Lidl helps: bargain hunters flock to German masters of no-frills shopping

Low-cost supermarkets seize on tough economic times as middle classes start to count the pennies

With their no-frills range of obscure brands and the promise of permanent discounts, German supermarkets Lidl and Aldi have brought a compelling efficiency to the weekly shop for millions of Britons.

And with the economic climate worsening, growing numbers of middle-class shoppers more accustomed to browsing the aisles of Waitrose are now "trading down" to shop at its less glamorous rivals, new figures show.

Research today reveals that nearly a third of shoppers intend to use discount supermarkets more frequently in the near future. And consumers in the highest socioeconomic groups are the most likely to do so.

Data from market analysts IGD found that 39 per cent of families from ABC1 households will use the stores in the year ahead compared with 30 per cent of those from the lower-income C2DE groups.

In leafy Meanwood in north Leeds the Aldi store sits on a retail park just a short distance from Waitrose. While the car park was not exactly chock-a-block with luxury 4x4s yesterday, the odd BMW and Mercedes testified to the budget supermarket's increasingly universal appeal.

Quantity surveyor Laura Blackburn, 27, began shopping here a year ago. "You get exactly the same thing here for about a quarter of the price. A cauliflower here is 69p but in Waitrose it is £1.69. At the end of the day, how different can a cauliflower be?" she said. "The other supermarkets try to lure you into two for the price of one. But here you can get one just as cheaply without having to go down the multi-buy route," she added.

Others admitted they had taken a certain amount of convincing to switch. "There is still that element of snobbery involved," said Katie Douglas, 37, a stay-at-home mum. "You hear it outside the school from some of the mothers. A few years ago I wouldn't have come here but the prices are just so much better," she added.

Emerging from the store clutching a bag of compost and a selection of bedding plants, nurse Rachel Fennelly, 27, and her GP partner, Dr Matthew Barton, 31, admitted they were relative newcomers. "It's only my fifth time. They have some good cheap plants here but I wouldn't go here for a regular shop because it is just a bit too random," she said.

The analysts also found that both major budget chains had invested in the quality of their products, which had helped to reverse any stigma associated with shopping there.

Joanne Denney-Finch, the chief executive of IGD, said food and grocery sales were continuing to grow this summer – despite the weather – largely as a result of events such as the Jubilee and Euro 2012 and with another boost anticipated from the Olympics.

"Even better-off shoppers, especially those with children, are looking to discount stores to save money as they feel the squeeze. While they remain a small part of the overall grocery market – representing just 4.5 per cent – discounters have been broadening their appeal to help even higher-income shoppers to tighten their belts," she said.

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Audit Manager Central Functions

To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...

Credit Risk Audit Manager

Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week