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Essential shopping includes artichoke hearts, houmous and balsamic vinegar, says Waitrose

What would you consider to be a shopping “essential”? A tin of baked beans, box of corn flakes, some tea bags? Er, no. It seems tastes have most definitely moved on – especially if you’re a Waitrose shopper.

The must-haves for today’s shoppers in Devon’s four Waitrose branches (Exeter, Sidmouth, Teignmouth and Torquay) now include tinned artichoke hearts, cappuccino mousse, cambozola cheese, houmous dip and a chicken terrine dinner – for dogs.

All are among a group of 300 foods that have been added to the cut-price “essential Waitrose” brand to help families make their food budgets go further.

Waitrose, where houmous comes as standard

It is part of a wider trend across the High Street towards more exotic tastes with even Iceland moving into Waitrose territory with, for example, a new range of Salt Baked Sea Bass and Hand Filleted Tuna Steaks.

The “essential Waitrose” brand was introduced by the supermarket in 2009 to help it see off the threat posed by budget chains like Aldi and Lidl.

It was originally designed by Waitrose to counter the idea that it was an expensive place to buy shopping basket essentials. However, it has since expanded to reflect a remarkable shift in what its shoppers consider to be essential.

Waitrose said: “Growing in line with food trends and responding to consumer demand, products as varied as artichoke hearts, coconut milk and tortelloni are now branded ‘essential’. It even includes a chicken terrine dog food.

Waitrose in Sidmouth

“Our changing tastes have in part been shaped by cuisines which have become popular since the essential range was launched, with Mexican, Middle Eastern and Greek foods now firmly in the mainstream.”

Customer director at Waitrose, Martin George, said: ‘It’s been fascinating to look at our sales trends to see what have become must-have items in our customers’ eyes. The ‘essential Waitrose’ brand was introduced by the chain in 2009.

“From chamomile soap…

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