What Is The Most Common Stolen Items From Supermarket Theft?

Written by Nyah Mallen

18th November 2022

According to Statista, in the 2022/23 period, there were an estimated 342,343 shoplifting offences in England & Wales – a sharp increase from 247,999 during the 2021/22 period.

With the current cost of living crisis and rapid price inflation, supermarket thefts have unfortunately seen a drastic increase of roughly 24% compared to the previous year, according to Big Issue.

But what are the most commonly shoplifted items that people are stealing? And how can you protect your supermarket or retail outlet from theft? We’ll explore these questions in today’s article.

Most Shoplifted Items

Below is a list detailing some of the most frequently stolen items from retailers’ shelves, and what shoplifters may do with these items.

1 – Packed Meat

Ranging from bacon to lamb to steak, this category of items is among the most common shoplifted items in supermarkets. These meats tend to be expensive and in high-demand – enterprising thieves will take advantage of this fact and attempt to fence them in a variety of methods, like door-to-door sales or shilling them out in pubs and clubs.

2 – Razor Blades

Razor blades are also among the most shoplifted items, for a plethora of reasons – the most popular being that they are easy to conceal due to their small size, and the other being that they are expensive and in high-demand, much like meat.

3 – Alcohol

Alcohol, in general, tends to be very eye-catching to criminals – but particularly pricey alcohol tends to be a primary target for shoplifters. They will often steal Prosecco, Whisky, Champagne or Gin for the purpose of reselling them to a ready market that will want to stock up on expensive drinks for cheaper.

why do people shoplift

4 – Beauty Cosmetics

Luxury cosmetic goods, such as make-up and lipsticks are commonly stolen for personal use, or to gift to others during seasonal events, like birthdays and Christmas. Additionally, they tend to be quite small and compact, making them considerably easier to tuck away into pockets, bags, etc.

5 – Cheese

One of the more unexpected and strange items to steal, cheese ranks relatively high as a frequently shoplifted good. As of 2009, cheese was actually the most stolen item from supermarkets throughout the UK and Europe. Research suggests it’s caused by its resale value – though

6 – Branded Deodorants

Deodorants tend to make for an easy bulk theft, achieved when shoplifters sweep a fixture up with their forearm to steal multiple of the products in one go.

7 – Batteries

Unfortunately, the market surrounding batteries is likely to remain lucrative, only increasing in demand, given that many electronic devices in homes are reliant on them. They’re also packaged in small boxes and sets, making them an easy, low-risk target.

8 – Clothing Accessories

Fashion accessories such as scarves, handbags, purses and gloves tend to be another commonly stolen item. Whilst they may be more challenging due to their size, they have a readily available market – especially accessories from designer brands.

supermarket theft

9 – Coffee

Again, coffee may seem another unusual good to steal, much like cheese. However, coffee seems to be growing ever expensive and is a popular resale good with high demand. Tea, on the other hand, tends to be cheaper and not worth the risk or reward for thieves to steal.

10 – Baby Clothes

Upsettingly, baby clothes are another frequent theft. Most of the time, people who steal baby clothes will do it out of desperation to keep their children warm and clothed but unfortunately, such is not always the case. Some professional thieves tend to see it as an avenue for profit, as there is a huge potential market for growing babies that regularly need larger and multiple sets of clothes.

11 – Jeans

Jeans are often stolen in bulk, and whilst they’re a larger and harder target, they offer ease of resale given their popularity in terms of fashion appeal.

12 – Perfumes & Fragrances

Fragrances and perfumes which aren’t properly secured make for another easy pick for career thieves, given that the products are relatively small in size, but fetch a large price on the market.

Other Commonly Shoplifted Items

Other items that are commonly stolen include, but aren’t limited to, small electronic goods (such as phones) and their accessories, sports fashion items, and box sets of DVDs & games.

Reason For Theft In Supermarkets

Reasons for supermarket theft can vary greatly. As previously touched upon, one of the key reasons for a 24% increase in supermarket thefts can be attributed to the cost of living crisis. People will steal low-cost foods and essentials out of sheer necessity to feed themselves or their family, as opposed to looking to make a profit from it.

Unfortunately, career thieves still very much exist in the supermarket theft sphere and will likely steal from stores to continue making profits by stealing high-cost goods to sell on the black market.

how to prepare for a night shift as a security guard

How Can Retailers Prevent Supermarket Thefts?

Retail outlets can take reasonable, achievable steps to help prevent theft of goods. Some of the security measures that can be put in place are:

  • Securing high-value, vulnerable items using security tags, or by hiding them behind a lock and key or a till.
  • Optimising the store layout by placing valuables or frequently stolen items at checkouts or in areas with good visibility.
  • Put up warning signs as a deterrent to potential shoplifters.

How Retail Security Solutions Can Prevent Theft In Supermarkets

However, by far one of the best ways to help mitigate potential thefts in a retailer setting is by hiring dedicated Retail Security services.

Retail security solutions can include the following prevention measures:

  • Uniformed guards that act as a powerful, visual deterrent against theft.
  • Visible and thorough CCTV coverage throughout the storefront to act as yet another visual deterrent.
  • Plain-clothes store detectives to keep an eye on suspicious, but unsuspecting individuals within the store.

These solutions aim to prevent the active and potential theft of supermarket goods effectively. Additionally, they may act as an excellent investment for any store – especially considering that the crime survey 2023 reports that shoplifting costs the UK economy £1.76 billion annually.

retail security guard

So, What Is The Most Common Stolen Items From Supermarket Theft?

In this article, we’ve covered some of the most common shoplifted items in supermarket and retail environments, as well as some of the possible reasons for stealing these items.

If you find yourself interested to learn more about retail security, why not visit our Retail Articles page where you can find more regarding Why People Shoplift or the Top 10 Ways To Secure Your Retail Store In 2024.

We also have an official Region Security Guarding YouTube channel where you can stay up to date with all the latest security news, tips and tricks including Why UK Retail Outlets Need More Security.

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