Consumers in the UK are more likely to change their spending habits because of their personal fears than any other Europeans.

Market analysts Datamonitor claim recent food scares have resulted in shoppers buying more expensive products in the belief it is a guarantee of better quality and fewer risks.

The report says fear of crime can influence buying habits, for example, by encouraging people to stay at home for which they might spend more on food or home entertainment.

Concern about terrorism could lead some people to buy more expensive products to make themselves feel better.

According to Datamonitor, the result of such changes in spending habits across Europe can be valued at almost £680 million a year.

It says the UK has the biggest market in Europe for purchases of premium products or other items that might be motivated by peoples fears, with an estimated value of £199 million.

Friday March 21 2003