The UK grocery market is witnessing “premiumisation” despite the downturn, analysts at Kantar Worldpanel argued today (14 September) – a trend that is benefiting Sainsbury’s but hitting Asda.

Kantar’s monthly figures on UK grocery sales said the market grew by 4.3% during the 12 weeks to 5 September, ahead of food inflation, which the analysts said is running at 2.7%.

Kantar communications director Ed Garner said consumers were putting more importance on freshness and quality, a trend that was benefiting some retailers more than others.

“This is evident in the premiumisation we have seen in the grocery market and the strong performances of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose – which recorded another admirable growth of 9.3% this month,” Garner said.

Sainsbury’s sales rose 5.5% during the period, taking its share of the UK grocery market from 15.8% a year ago to 16%. Morrisons sales were up 5.9% and its share rose to 11.4%, up from 11.3%.

Asda, however, saw its sales growth rise at a slower rate than the market. Its sales were up 2.6% and meant its market share fell to 17.2% from the 17.4% it enjoyed a year earlier.

Garner, however, said Asda had indicated that it was focusing more on quality in its latest marketing.

“Recent statements from Asda’s chief executive Andy Clarke show that the retailer has recognised the need to adjust its strategy and we’ve started to see a greater emphasis on quality in the latest advertising campaign,” Garner said.

Market Tesco saw its sales rise 4%. Its market share dipped from 30.9% a year ago to 30.8%.