Most shoppers follow the same route up and down the aisles using shelf displays as a 'prompt' for their memories, according to an analysis of 4,500 purchases by 167 couples. The result is that many people buy more than they intended.
'Brand loyalty' is also under constant threat from rival product displays - if people do not see something on the shelves, they may forget to buy it.
The research, by the agency Lowe Howard-Spink, also says men now account for 30 per cent of all grocery purchases, a market worth pounds 16.5bn. Advertisers will have to reconsider targeting 'housewives' because men and woman choose different brands three-quarters of the time.
Men spend on average 5 per cent more than women on shopping, the research found. They buy less healthy food such as low-salt beans and prefer 'indulgent' items and premium quality products to own-label brands.
Other research shows Sainsbury's shoppers spend an average of 8 per cent more than they intended.
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