“We’re on the front line talking to customers every day and we can see and feel the pressure on the family budget,” said Murphy, speaking at a summit of the Consumer Goods Forum in Dublin on Thursday. “So I can’t overstate the mood of the people in all our markets.”
Signs of consumer stress are particularly evident in the UK, he said, but are also present in Ireland and in central Europe where inflation has hit an all-time high.
Murphy’s remarks follow those made by Tesco Chairman John Allan in May when he warned that Britain was on the cusp of “real food poverty for the first time in a generation.”
Tesco said last week that shoppers are buying fewer items and beginning to switch to cheaper store-brand versions of staples, such as bread, pasta and beans, as they try to cut costs amid surging food, electricity and fuel prices.