How food inflation is at the heart of the cost-of-living crisis
Food prices are at the heart of the cost-of-living crisis, putting significant pressure on household budgets even as general inflation eases.
With the latest data from the Office for National Statistics showing consumer price inflation (CPI) for groceries at 19.3% – just down from 19.6% in March – consumers continue to grapple with budget-busting price increases on kitchen essentials such as olive oil (up 49%) A year ago cheese, now 42% more expensive, as well as milk and baked beans were each up 39%.
The ONS has published examples of how the annual inflation rate for essential food and beverages has risen or fallen over the past year.
Two numbers are listed for each item: the average price increase over the 12 months ended March, followed by the average price increase over the 12 months ended April.
Here are examples where the inflation rate was lower in April than in March:
Olive oil: March 49.2%, April 46.4% Low-fat milk: March 38.8%, April 33.5% Cheese & quark: March 33.6%, April 30.6% Whole milk: March 37.9%, April 26.3% Ready meals: March 20.9%, April 20.8% Butter: March 22.7%, April 20.1% Fresh or chilled fish: March 19.0%, April 18.9% Bread: March 18.9%, April 18.6% Jams, jams and honey: March 20.9%, April 17.9% Ice cream and ice cream: March 24.3%, April 17.8% Meat: March 17.4% , April 17.2% Coffee: March 15.6%, April 15.3% Chips: March 17.9%, April 14.5% Pizza & Quiche: March 17.2%, April 11.9% Fresh or chilled Fruit: March 11.6%, April 11.5% Breakfast cereals and other grain products: March 9.0%, April 8.1%
Here are examples where the inflation rate was higher in April than in March:
Sugar: March 42.1%, April 47.4% Eggs: March 32.0%, April 37.0% Sauces, spices, salt, spices & herbs: March 33.7%, April 33.9% Pasta products & couscous : March 24.1%, April 27.7%Potatoes: March 20.4%, April 24.8% Yoghurt: March 21.9%, April 24.0% Fresh or chilled vegetables other than potatoes: March 20.5% , April 22.2% Fruit and vegetable juices: March 14.1%, April 21.1% Dried or processed vegetables: 18.3%, April 19.4% Tea: March 19.0%, April 19.1% %Margarine and other vegetable fats: March 15.6%, April 19.0%Rice: March 13.0%, April 14.9%Chocolate: March 14.6%, April 14.9%Soft drinks: March 12.2 %, April 12.4%Dried fruits & nuts: March 5.8%, April 7.2%
The figures come a day after Kantar reported that food price inflation fell for the second straight month but still stands at an “incredibly high” 17.2% and continues to add an extra £833 to the average consumer’s bill.
On the milk shelf, the average cost of four pints of milk has fallen by 8p since last month but at £1.60 is still 30p higher than at this time last year.
On Tuesday, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the government was “ready” to update pricing rules after speaking to industry officials to raise concerns about skyrocketing food prices.
The Resolution Foundation warned last week that as the “epicenter” of the cost-of-living crisis, food prices will overtake energy bills and force low-income households to eat less as store-brand staples become unaffordable for some.
Meanwhile, the analysis of Which? April prices revealed that some meats, yoghurts and vegetables were among the items that doubled in price from a year earlier.
The CMA said last week it had seen no evidence of specific competition concerns in the food sector “at this point in time”, but that it was “important to ensure weak competition does not exacerbate the problems”.
She will provide information about the current status of her work in the coming months.
The CMA also reviews unit prices in supermarkets to ensure retailers are following rules that help consumers accurately compare products and choose the best value for money.
Once the CMA review is complete, the government will consider updating pricing rules, including by strengthening the Price Marking Order 2004, the Treasury Department said.
According to the Treasury Department, food manufacturers have agreed to “continue to work with senior government ministers” to discuss possible measures to ease the pressure on budgets.
Last week, Tesco and Aldi announced they had announced another round of price cuts for their own-brand pasta and cooking oil as deflation has started to spread to the staples in the closet.
This followed a number of supermarkets cutting prices on some bread and butter ranges the week before in response to falling commodity prices.
Sainsbury’s and Tesco also recently cut milk prices by at least 5p, followed by Aldi, Lidl and Asda.
The latest cuts came as a Farm to Fork Summit was held in Downing Street, bringing together farmers, food and retail associations and supermarket bosses to discuss the government’s aim to boost supply chain collaboration and sector resilience strengthen – and combat rampant food inflation.
https://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/how-food-inflation-is-taking-centre-stage-in-the-cost-of-living-crisis-b1083373.html How food inflation is at the heart of the cost-of-living crisis