In London, the food market is dominated by two big players: multinational supermarket giants Aldi and Sainsbury’s.
But the country’s second largest supermarket, Aldi, has been accused of under-reporting its sales of cheap food in the past.
The Irish Times has been tracking Aldi’s UK food sales for two years.
Its latest report, published on Tuesday, shows the supermarket giant is selling nearly 1.5 million meals a day, a level not seen since 2012.
Its biggest sales area, the north-east, has grown by almost 10 per cent since the report was released.
It is not the first time the supermarket has been hit with accusations of undervaluing its sales.
Last year, it was accused of selling less than it actually was.
Aldi and its rivals are facing criticism from the food industry for under-stating sales of its products.
The report’s author, the UK’s leading food trade journalist, Richard Wollaston, said the supermarkets should be judged on the quality of their food rather than the volume of its sales.
“It’s a case of trying to buy at the lowest possible price and selling at the highest possible price,” he said.
“If you’re selling a product which is in the cheapest price category, you’re in the minority.”
He said the supermarket’s under-estimating of its UK food business meant it was “showing its hand”.
“It’s not a case that Aldi is selling less food than it claims to, it’s showing its hand.
And that’s not good for the health of the industry or the consumer,” he told the BBC.”
It could be selling less meat or less milk, it could be more fish or less poultry.
But that’s what we’re seeing.”‘
Sneaky’ sales dataThe Aldi report also shows it is not just the supermarkets that are under-selling their sales of food.
The supermarkets are also “sneaky” in their reporting.
The UK’s biggest supermarket chain, Sainsburys, has told The Irish Time it is selling more than 1.8 million meals each day in the north of England, while Aldi reports only around 1.2 million meals.
“In the north we’ve been reporting that we have had an increase in our sales of chicken but we have not been selling it as well as we would have liked,” a Sainsbank spokesperson told The Independent.
“So we’re going to be updating our UK sales figures for the period which ends in May.”
Aldis is not alone in its under-valuation of its food business.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said its own sales data showed its UK sales were lower than it had been in four years.
It told The Telegraph:”In 2015, the Food and Wine Federation (FWF) reported that the UK food market was more than $20 billion in the red, with a projected loss of $2.5 billion.”
It also highlighted the UK supermarket market is one of the biggest in the world, accounting for more than half of the UK economy.
The FSA is calling for an overhaul of the way food is sold, and a change in the way supermarkets are funded.