UK inflation rate rise 2022: which products saw biggest price increases in February - from food to petrol

As the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) reaches a new 30-year high, we take a look at the kinds of goods and services that are costing you the most right now.
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Inflation has reached a new 30-year high in the UK, with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rising by 6.2% in the year to February.

That was the highest increase for any month since March 1992, almost 30 years ago, when inflation sat at 7.1%, the figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

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This is an average of inflation across a huge range of goods and services monitored by the ONS, and consumers will notice much bigger price rises in some areas.

Energy bills, second hand cars, and air travel are just some of the products with sharp price rises compared to last year.

So which bills are seeing the steepest hikes, and where will consumers be feeling the worst pinch?

What is the CPI?

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) weighs changes in the average price of a ‘basket’ of goods and services, to track how the cost of living in the UK changes over time.

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The goods and services cover a wide range, from food, drinks and petrol through to medicines, energy, and haircuts.

Inflation is normally measured on an annual basis, with the prices each month compared to what they were in the same month a year earlier.

That does mean inflation data is influenced by the context of the year before. If prices in the leisure or travel industry were at rock bottom during Covid, to tempt consumers back, one year later it would look like there had been a big increase.

The goods and services do not all exert the same pull on the overall level of inflation.

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They are weighted, based on their relative importance and how big a portion they form of our overall spending. For instance, in the category of food, the price of breakfast cereals is given twice the weighting of ice creams and lollies.

Price increases for breakfast cereals will therefore have a bigger influence on overall inflation than with ice cream.

Campaigners, including food blogger Jack Monroe, argue that the official inflation statistics mask the impact on low-income households, who feel price hikes on the cheaper food products they rely on harder.

What is happening to the CPI?

The chart below shows the CPI since current records began in 1989.

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The 6.2% increase seen in February 2022 was the highest level in almost 30 years. Inflation has been at a near 30-year high since November.

Data for before January 1997 is based on modelled estimates.


The chart below shows inflation over just the last 13 months, from February 2021 to February 2022.

The CPI has risen for the last five consecutive months, since September 2021. Overall, prices have risen in 10 out of the last 12 months.


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Last month, in the year to January, inflation stood at 5.5%. It jumped by 0.7 percentage points to reach 6.2% in February.

The ONS said the biggest contribution to the rise in February compared to January came from recreation and culture-related goods and services, and clothing and footwear.

That does not necessarily mean these products had the biggest individual price rises – housing costs, including rent and energy bills, rose by more.

But these prices were already rising steeply in January, so they had less to do with the jump in February alone.

Which types of goods and services are getting more expensive?

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The ONS organises the goods and services it monitors into broad categories.

You can compare inflation in each category against the overall rate in the chart below, to see whether prices are rising faster or slower than the average.

The biggest annual price rise in February was in the ‘electricity, gas and other fuels’ category, up by 23.1% compared to February 2021.

That was followed by ‘purchase of vehicles’ (14.5%), ‘furniture, furnishings and carpets’ (13.2%), ‘operation of personal transport equipment’ (11.8%) and ‘glassware, tableware and household utensils’ (11.7%).


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Looking at specific types of goods and services, ‘liquid fuels’ saw the biggest price rise, at a staggering 52.9%. This covers domestic heating and lighting oils, rather than petrol.

The top 15 goods and services with the biggest price rises were:

  1. Liquid fuels (domestic) - 52.9%
  2. Second hand cars - 30.6%
  3. Natural gas and town gas (domestic) - 28.7%
  4. Hire of garages, parking spaces and personal transport equipment - 25.2%
  5. Holiday centres, camping sites, youth hostels and similar accommodation services - 23.9%
  6. Petrol - 22.8%
  7. Diesel - 21.7%
  8. Passenger transport by air - 20.2%
  9. Other floor coverings (not including carpets and rugs) - 20.1%
  10. Electricity - 19.2%
  11. Irons - 18.6%
  12. House contents insurance - 17.2%
  13. Other non-fiction books (excluding educational text books) - 17%
  14. Binding services and e-book downloads - 16.7%
  15. Repair and hire of clothing - 16.6%

Which food and drink products have been hardest hit?

Food prices rose by 4.9% in the year to February, non-alcoholic beverages by 6.7% and alcoholic drinks by 1.5%.

By category, the biggest price rises were in a miscellaneous group of food products that covers sauces, condiments, salt, spices, herbs, and ready meals. Prices were up by 9.1% year-on-year.

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That was followed by coffee, tea and cocoa (7.5%), oils and fats (6.7%), fruit (6.2%) and milk, cheese and eggs (6.1%).

When looking at specific types of food and drinks within these categories, the biggest price rise was for jams, marmalades and honey (16.1%).

The top 15 worst-hit food and drink products were:

  1. Jams, marmalades and honey - 16.1%
  2. Lamb and goat - 12.7%
  3. Sauces, condiments, salt, spices and culinary herbs - 12.7%
  4. Dried vegetables, other preserved or processed vegetables - 12.6%
  5. Mineral or spring waters - 11.3%
  6. Low fat milk - 11.1%
  7. Coffee - 10.3%
  8. Pasta products and couscous - 9.4%
  9. Margarine and other vegetable fats - 8.9%
  10. Whole milk - 8.8%
  11. Eggs - 8.1%
  12. Fruit and vegetable juices - 8.9%
  13. Beef and veal - 7.9%
  14. Olive oil - 7.8%
  15. Other food products not elsewhere classified (including ready meals) - 7.4%

Has anything gotten cheaper?

A handful of goods and services did see a drop in prices compared to February 2021.

These included alcoholic spirits (down 0.1% year-on-year), pregnancy tests and mechanical contraceptive devices (-0.5%) and buying new pets (-1%).

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Personal computers (-5.6%), mobile telephone equipment (-4.6%), computer software (-3.9%), and bus and coach tickets (-3.8%) all also saw prices fall.

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