Cost of food staples including cheddar, bread and porridge soar by up to 80% as inflation hits 17.2%
Which? found supermarkets’ own-label budget items have leapt in price painting a “bleak picture” for millions of households
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The cost of food staples such as cheddar cheese, white bread and porridge oats have soared in the last year, painting a “bleak picture” for millions of households.
Cheddar cheese prices increased by an average 28.3% across eight major supermarkets – Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – compared to a year ago.
One cheese, Dragon Welsh Mature Cheddar 180g at Asda, increased in price by 80% in one year. It rose from £1 in the three months to the end of March last year to £1.80 across the same period this year.
The consumer group analysed inflation on more than 26,000 food and drink products at the eight supermarkets and selected a basket of staple foods including cheddar cheese, sliced white bread, pork sausages, white potatoes and porridge oats to find which everyday products had seen the biggest price hikes.
The cost of porridge oats went up by an average of 35.5% across all eight supermarkets compared to the same time last year. The worst single example of inflation was at Ocado where Quaker Oat So Simple Protein Porridge Pot Original 49g went from 94p to £1.56 – an increase of 65.5%.
Large 800g loaves of sliced white bread increased by an average of 22.8%, but The Bakery at Asda Soft White Medium Sliced Bread 800g jumped by 67% from 56p to 94p.
Average inflation in white potatoes was around 14%, but a four pack of baking potatoes at Morrisons went up from 40p to 66p – a rise of 63.5%.
Pork sausages increased by an average of 26.8% across all supermarkets. Asda’s Just Essentials budget range of eight sausages increased in price by 73.5% from 81p to £1.40, while Tesco’s value Woodside Farms pack of eight went from 80p to £1.39, a 73.3% increase.
The findings show the cheapest products continue to be the ones most hard hit by inflation.
Which?’s tracker shows supermarket own-label budget items were up 24.8% in March compared with the same time last year. This is higher than the 20.5% increase seen on standard supermarket own brands and the 13.8% on branded and premium own brand ranges.
The watchdog also found Lidl had the highest rate of inflation, followed closely by Aldi.
NationalWorld has conducted its own price checks on everyday supermarket items over the last year and the findings were in line with those highlighted by Which?.
The analysis found prices for value range food, drink and cleaning products at UK supermarkets have risen by almost a quarter over the last year, far higher than the rising cost of food overall.
Tracking of value range prices since April 2022 also found that Tesco shoppers faced the biggest hikes, while those who buy the in-house value range at Aldi have seen the smallest price rises.
‘Supermarkets have the power to do more’
Which? is calling on major supermarkets to make budget line items widely available, particularly in areas where people are most in need.
It is also demanding that the big chains make pricing and offers more transparent so that people can easily work out which products are the best value.
Sue Davies, Which? head of food policy, said: “Our latest supermarket food and drink tracker paints a bleak picture for the millions of households already skipping meals of how inflation is impacting prices on supermarket shelves, with the poorest once again feeling the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis.
“While the whole food chain affects prices, supermarkets have the power to do more to support people who are struggling, including ensuring everyone has easy access to basic, affordable food ranges at a store near them, particularly in areas where people are most in need.”
She added: “Supermarkets must also provide transparent pricing so people can easily work out which products offer the best value.”