A new survey of shopping habits says that three-quarters of people who shop at edge-of-town superstores have been tempted into buying unusual or exotic products. But 45 per cent have been disappointed: their family or partner would have preferred more familiar products. One-third ended up throwing the food away.
Of the pounds 53.82 spent on average on such trips, pounds 2.36 is wasted on exotica, the survey found - equivalent nationally to pounds 685m a year.
The survey, commissioned by the supermarket firm Gateway, suggests there are signs of dissatisfaction with superstores, and that two-thirds of people still shop in local centres. Three-quarters of those have visited edge-of-town stores but not returned.
Even among those who shop at superstores, 59 per cent believe the range of products stocked is wider than necessary and 29 per cent say they stock too broad and exotic a range of everyday items.
Seventy-four per cent of out-of-town shoppers also visit local shops at least once a week, the survey found. Reasons given by local shoppers for not visiting superstores include lack of a car and the amount of time it takes.
The findings may give chains such as Sainsbury and Tesco pause for thought. The Government has recently declared itself against out-of-town shopping. Last week, John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, refused permission for two proposals - at Duxford, Cambridgeshire, and Ludlow, Shropshire - saying the decisions were 'meant to set an example'.