Goodbye to the golden age of consumer choice

A combination of high inflation and rising interest rates, which are puncturing many high-risk investments, from cryptocurrency to venture capital, are already having an effect. But the impact of the latter has yet to work its way through, and will create more pain.

Inflation and the crisis of affordability has pushed many shoppers back to basics. With energy bills rising sharply, the question is not which new brand of coconut milk yoghurt or craft beer they will try out, but how to feed their families or heat their homes.

More are now shopping at discounters, from Walmart to Aldi and Lidl. They also favour the ordinary and familiar over the experimental. Shares in Beyond Meat, a pioneer of plant-based burgers and sausages, tumbled below its 2019 flotation price this week, while those in stalwarts such as Kraft Heinz and Campbell Soup have risen in the past month.