The cost of food and drink in shops has seen a record increase due to rising prices of milk, eggs and margarine, according to research from Kantar. The four weeks to 19 February saw a 17.1% rise in grocery prices from the same period last year, the highest rate since records began in 2008. This has had a big impact on people’s lives, with one in four shoppers now struggling financially.
The surge in food prices is linked to the war in Ukraine, which has caused a huge increase in energy costs and disrupted supplies of grains, vegetable oils and fertiliser. To save money, many shoppers are switching to supermarket own-brand goods, with sales of these products up 13.2% in February.
BBC research found that some basic goods have nearly doubled in price over the past two years. For example, a standard 500g bag of pasta that cost 50p two years ago is now priced at 95p. A small basket of 15 everyday essentials has also gone up by £5.34 – from £15.79 in 2021 to £21.13 in 2023.
Discount supermarkets have seen rapid growth, with both Aldi and Lidl seeing sales rise by more than a quarter over the past year. Online retailer Ocado reported that customers bought fewer items per visit last year than they had the year before, although this was the same amount as before the pandemic.
The rising cost of living is having a significant impact on people’s lives, with households facing an £811 increase to their annual grocery bill if they do not change their shopping habits. To combat this, shoppers are encouraged to switch to supermarket own-brand goods and look for ways to save money when shopping online. It is important to remember that pack limits are unlikely to drastically affect consumers as most fruit and veg purchases involve fewer than three packs.
If you are struggling with the rising cost of living, share your experiences by emailing HaveYourSay@bbc.co.uk. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in other ways such as WhatsApp or Twitter.