Potatoes are out rice is in - how our shopping has changed

WHERE we once liked potatoes, we're now about pasta - and meat and three veg is the tucker of yesterday, a shopping report says.

And as kids stay at home longer, our food bills are going up.

Woolworths today released a report on how society and life have changed from the perspective of the supermarket shopping trolley.

"Over the 25 years reviewed, Australia has become a cosmopolitan community and our tastebuds have embraced global flavours," a spokesperson for Woolworths said.. 

"The way we eat and how we spend our money on food and other costs of living tell a unique story about how our country has changed. The Woolworths Trolley Trends report has revealed a vastly different Australia to the one that existed 25 years ago."

The  Woolworths Trolley Trends Report found the modern Australian  household was less likely to have exclusive Anglo-Australian heritage, less likely to identify with religion, more likely to be highly educated and more likely to have both partners working.

"Today's family might be a single, a couple or have adult kids living at home well into in their twenties and still relying on mum and dad for support.  These changes are reflected in their shopping trolleys," the spokesperson said.

Woolworths Supermarkets managing director Tjeerd Jegen said looking at how lives and food shopping had evolved motivated the company to undertake the  study.

"This report provides an exceptional insight into how the last 25 years have changed the way we shop and eat," Mr Jegen said.

"A shopper from 25 years ago would be confounded by the supermarket of today." 

Woolworths Trolley Trends key findings:

The big weekly shop is dead: 

  • On average, Australians spend just 34% of their weekly food budget on their primary shopping day - they are increasingly using the supermarket like a pantry
  • Sunday is becoming the new Saturday for supermarket shopping, with 18% of Australians now making Sunday their primary shopping day, up 3% points since last year

Aussie families focused on price:

  • Households headed by a person aged 48-49 years spend $3548 more on food and non-alcoholic beverages each year than the average Australian
  • There was a 7% increase in the number of children still living with their parents between 2006 and 2011 -  reflected in higher food costs for longer for many households
  • More than a third of the items in Woolworths' supermarket trolleys are purchased on promotion
  • The proportion of items purchased on promotion at Woolies is up 10% per annum

The trolley transformation:

  • The potato was Australia's side dish of choice in 1984 accounting for 72% of our side dish purchases. This has dropped to 39%, with the popularity of pasta, noodles and rice increasing to now make up 61% of side dish purchases

Australia's changing palate:

  • The 'meat and three veg' standard meal of the 1970s and 1980s has gone by the wayside
  • In the 1990s Mediterranean produce, including zucchini, garlic, eggplant and red capsicum, reached critical mass in our supermarkets
  • Medjool dates, figs, almonds and pomegranates were among the Arab and Persian items that reached critical mass at Woolies since 2010
  • Today you will find superfoods including kale, blueberries and sweet potato as a standard in the Woolies fresh produce section

Share of wallet:

  • Housing costs (rent or mortgage payments) today account for the largest share of our wallets (18%) and saw the single largest increase in household expenditure since 1984, up 380%
  • Today food and non-alcoholic drink accounts for our second largest share of wallet (17%)
  • Generation X has emerged as Generation debt - more than half of all households headed by a Gen X have a home loan and one third have credit card debt

For more information or to download the Woolworths Trolley Trend Report, go to: www.woolworths.com.au