The Agenda: 'We're losing customers to food banks', Iceland boss says

17 June 2022, 10:39

Iceland boss Richard Walker speaks about cost of living crisis impact on customers

By Seán Hickey

The head of one of Britain's largest supermarket chains tells LBC's The Agenda the cost of living crisis has drastically changed his clientele.

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Millions of Brits have found themselves struggling to put food on the table as the cost of living crisis bites.

Richard Walker, the Managing Director of Iceland spoke to LBC on episode 2 of The Agenda, a Global Player exclusive current affairs programme.

Read more: No relief from Rishi: Hopes of tax cuts dashed until 11% inflation threat eases

"We are seeing units per basket go down...customers are controlling spends basically by putting less food in their basket", he began.

Mr Walker told The Agenda that he's "hearing stories of customers at the till asking the cashier to tell them when it totals £40, and then they just leave the rest of the food in the trolley."

"Our 5 million customers a week, they are really finding things tough at the moment."

Read more: Boris Johnson says he is 'bringing in tax cuts as fast as we can'

Read more: 'You don't need a crystal ball!': Furious Eddie Mair corners Tory MP on cost of living crisis

'It's gone past cost of living, it's about the cost of surviving.'

The CBI boss Tony Danker previously called on Rishi Sunak to help struggling families amid the cost of living crisis, following reports in late Spring that said millions of Brits were skipping meals to save money.

Backing up the reports, the Iceland boss confirmed that "it is a fact that we're losing some customers in some neighbourhoods to food banks."

To highlight the issue, he pointed out that it isn't just the poorest that are feeling the cost of living pinch: "We are gaining customers from more expensive supermarkets as well who are seeing the benefits of frozen food."

Mr Walker feared that the issue isn't to be resolved any time soon. "Food inflation may continue to rise in the short to medium term" he declared.

Sending a message to customers, Mr Walker told viewers "we get it" and his company "we will not rest until this cost of living crisis is over."