In the FT, Julian Hardwick, consumer analyst at Royal Bank of Scotland in London, describes the current trend:
“In more difficult times, there’s a tendency for consumers to trade down, and there’s a hierarchy,” he says. “People trade down from going to restaurants to eating a ready-made meal at home. And people trade down from a ready-made meal to food they prepare themselves . . . “
Its Letters column often give a truer perspective: Penelope Visman comments:
“Surely that must be a good, albeit perhaps forced, spin-off for consumers as food cooked at home is healthier and, in almost all cases, tastes much better than ready-made meals.”
People are trading up – in non-financial terms – from going to restaurants or eating a ready-made meal at home, to eating food they prepare themselves from fresh regional produce where possible.