War of the LADs
Published: 24 Mar 2016
The past couple of years have seen something of a sea-change in the make-up of Britain's supermarkets. The traditional players like Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrison's and Asda have had a battle on their hands—a battle for their very existence. The threat? The rise of discounted supermarket chains from the continent, namely Aldi and Lidl. These discounted stores have been given the acronym LADs, standing for limited assortment discounter. These stores keep their prices down by stocking cheap alternatives to big brand names, as well as keeping their selection of these brands small and concise. Their huge and rising popularity amongst consumers feeling the financial pinch of high food prices has sent traditional supermarkets' shares tumbling.
The fightback is on, however. After disastrous recent years, Morrison's has reemerged from the mire looking fitter and hungrier—the crisis the supermarket chain has suffered has made it stronger and more able to look to the future. Most significant is Morrison's new partnership with Amazon as the online retailer looks to expand into the food delivery market to compete with Ocado and the like. Such is the power of Amazon to influence consumers—many of who are tied to the company already with television subscription packages—that the supermarket which gets to supply their customers is in for a welcome sales boost.
The problem for the traditional big supermarkets has been Aldi's move from being a cheap discounter, seen as a little embarrassing, to being one of the best supermarkets and places to shop in the country. It is the hubris of companies like Tesco that has allowed such a massive shift to take place, and the scrambling to try and regain market share from the discounters has cost big companies a great deal in both personnel and capital. Sainsbury's and Waitrose have been less affected than others simply because they have little desire to compete for the same kinds of customers. They have positioned themselves as catering more towards higher-paid consumers, and stock 'luxury' products and many different brands. But is that the only way to compete with Aldi and Lidl—change market or die?
The LADs have found themselves increasingly 'ganged up' on, with the other retailers choosing to band together against these upstarts. Asda, Morrison's and Tesco have all enacted price-matching schemes and focus on ways to attract consumers away from the LADs by undercutting the main advantage the discounters possess—namely, low prices.
Supermarkets are a huge part of the food industry in the UK, and that looks set to continue regardless of the winner of the LADs war. Supermarkets have massive resources and hire thousands of people—not just people to work in-store, but marketers, technologists and chefs too. Yourfoodjob.com has an exhaustive list of food jobs available in supermarkets. The hard work of trying to find specific jobs in the industry is done for you, enabling you to focus your search and find the job you really want. With the squeeze on skilled staff, there's room to earn significant salaries in the right areas of the country.
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