Sainsbury’s and The Co-operative are in the strongest position to poach custom from rivals, according to a new study.

The two grocers are the brands best placed to steal custom through subconscious decisions made by customers, research by communications agency Starcom MediaVest Group has revealed.

The Co-op is most likely to poach shoppers from Waitrose through its community values while Sainsbury’s is well placed to take custom from Asda through its emphasis on both the community and a pleasant shopping experience, the study said.

Sainsbury’s and The Co-op have the highest proportion of regular shoppers exhibiting values of community and pleasure and are likely to steal custom from Asda and Tesco “who need to up their game to halt a decline in numbers of shoppers”, the study said.

Morrisons trails the pack in adopting and promoting values associated with society and enjoyment in the grocery market and “will need to reinforce these values to retain its regular customer base, for whom community and pleasure are important, as shopper values begins to shift”, the research revealed.

Today, The Co-operative Group revealed its five million members are to receive their share of a record £17.8m interim dividend. The dividend is a rise from £16.9m a year ago and will be paid out in the next few days.

The retailer also revealed it is upping its multichannel approach with a Christmas Kitchen section of its website, a’daily deals’ text service and a trial of its in-store radio online.

The MediaVest data revealed that 41% of Sainsbury’s shoppers subconsciously value community when deciding where to shop, with 38% of Asda customers valuing community and 27% of Tesco’s.

Steve Parker, managing director of Mediavest, said: “The significant amount the supermarkets are spending on advertising price cuts is making it harder for consumers to build a relationship with that brand when it’s only on price.

“Community is more and more a part of people’s lives – people value consistent and transparent retailers which are physically and actively part of the community.”