Food inflation peaking at UK supermarkets

Although the rate slightly decreased from 15.7% in the year leading to April to 15.4%, it still stands as the second-highest food inflation rate on record…reports Asian Lite News

In the year leading up to May, UK supermarkets experienced a significant surge in price inflation, reaching an all-time high. According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and NielsenIQ, overall inflation at grocery stores escalated to 9%, media reported.

While prices for fresh food witnessed a minor decline, the cost of commodities like coffee and cocoa witnessed sharp increases, the BBC reported.

To address the impact on the cost of living, the government is engaged in discussions about proposing price caps on food items for supermarkets. Analysing data from the BRC and NielsenIQ for the week of May 1st to May 6th, it reveals that food inflation slightly decreased from 15.7% in the year leading to April to 15.4%. Although the rate declined, it still stands as the second-highest food inflation rate on record.

It is essential to note that a decrease in the rate of price increases does not indicate a drop in food costs; rather, it signifies a slower pace of growth. On the other hand, the rate of price rises for non-food items grew from 5.5% in the year leading to April to 5.8% in May.

These figures emerge less than a week after official inflation data displayed a considerable reduction in the rate of price increases, albeit not to the extent anticipated by economists.

In April 2023, the headline rate of the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) stood at 8.7%, notably lower than the 10.1% recorded in March. Although the rate for food experienced a slight decline, it remained close to a 45-year high at 19.3%.

Consequently, prices continue to rise rapidly, exacerbating the cost of living crisis. In response to this news, the Bank of England is considering raising interest rates, adding to the burden faced by mortgage payers who are already anticipating increased costs ahead of the central bank’s June announcement.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC said: “While overall shop price inflation rose slightly in May, households will welcome food inflation beginning to fall. The slowdown in inflation was largely driven by lower energy and commodity costs starting to filter through to lower prices of some staples including butter, milk, fruit and fish.”

“Conversely, the price of chocolate and coffee rose off the back of the ongoing high global costs for these commodities. While non-food inflation rose, consumers are benefitting from heavy discounts in footwear as well as books and home entertainment.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said: “Food retailing in particular is competitive, so hopefully the recent price cuts in fresh foods is a sign that inflation has now peaked, albeit ambient inflation may take a little while longer to slow.”

Earlier this month, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, spoke to supermarket representatives regarding food prices in the UK. The official had listened to the views of the sector about the drivers of food inflation and agreed that industry will continue to engage with senior government ministers on the matter and its impact on consumers.

Meanwhile according to Treasury, the Government understands the concern among the British public about the current level of food prices and their impact on household budgets, which is why halving inflation this year is a top priority.

To support households with the impact of rising prices, we are delivering one of the most generous cost-of-living packages in Europe – worth £3,300 per household on average over this year and last, the statement said.

This includes targeted support for the most vulnerable worth £900 for people on means-tested benefits, support with energy bills and uprating benefits by over 10%, it added.

ALSO READ-ECB president vows to tame inflation


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