Supermarket items that are double the price of a year ago as food inflation hits ‘shocking’ levels
Which? has urged the government to intervene to help consumers struggling with soaring food costs
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Meat, yoghurt and vegetables are among food items that have doubled in price compared to a year ago, figures show.
Consumer watchdog Which? analysed Aprile prices on more than 26,000 food and drink products at the UK’s major supermarkets, including Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
It found that essential food groups including meat, fish and vegetables have continued to rise month on month, with data showing food inflation remains at “shockingly high levels”.
Overall inflation has started to ease very slightly from 17.2% in March to 17.1% to the end of April, according to Which?’s food tracker, but shoppers are continuing to struggle.
At Asda, Morliny Frankfurters (350g) rose from an average of £1.25 to £2.42 – a rise of 93.8% on a year ago. A pack of four brown onions at Morrisons went from 65p to £1.24 - a 90.8% rise over 12 months, and Lancashire Farm Natural Bio Yoghurt 1kg also went up at the supermarket from £1.18 to £2.18 over the year - a rise of 85.3%.
The prices of juice, chocolate, water, fish, chilled ready meals and cheese also continued to rise month on month. The watchdog found Aberdoyle Dairies Natural Cottage Cheese 300g at Lidl had gone from an average of 67p in 2022 to £1.34 this year, a difference of 100.9%, while at Tesco, a 260g pack of own-brand salmon tails rose 51.4% from £3 to £4.54.
Supermarket own-label budget items were up 25% in April on 12 months ago, demonstrating how low-income shoppers are being hit hard by soaring inflation. Meanwhile, branded goods showed no change on March, remaining at 13.8% higher than last April, while regular own-brand food and premium own-brand food inflation decreased slightly.
Which? also found that food inflation in some categories that have previously seen the highest rises has eased slightly, including milk, butters, spreads and bakery items.
Rebecca Tobi, senior business and investor engagement manager at The Food Foundation, said: “We know that the current food price crisis is causing a great many households to cut back on essentials.
“With levels of food poverty among children having doubled in the year to January 2023, government and businesses must act urgently to ensure that everyone can afford and access healthy essentials like fruit and vegetables. If not, we will be seeing the long-term health and economic consequences of the cost of living crisis playing out for years to come.”
The new figures come as Downing Street prepares for a “Farm to Fork Summit” on Tuesday (16 May), which will bring together farming, food, retail trade bodies and supermarket bosses together to discuss the government’s goal of boosting cooperation across the supply chain, the sector’s resilience and rampant food inflation.
The consumer watchdog is calling on the Prime Minister to challenge supermarket chiefs to take urgent action to help shoppers cope with food price increases by ensuring smaller convenience stores stock a range of essential budget lines.
It has also called on supermarkets to commit to clearer unit pricing, especially on promotions and loyalty card offers, so that people can easily work out which products offer the best value.
Sue Davies, Which? head of food policy, said: “It’s very alarming to see products such as meat, cheese and vegetables that people rely on still rapidly soaring in price.
“As the Prime Minister gathers supermarket bosses today to discuss the problem of inflation, we urge him to ask supermarkets to commit to do much more, including stocking budget lines in convenience stores to ensure easy access to basic, affordable food ranges that support a healthy diet, particularly in areas where people are most in need.
“Supermarkets must also provide transparent pricing so people can easily work out which products offer the best value.”
Ahead of the summit, Downing Street said the government’s initiatives include reviewing supply chains to ensure producers are getting a fair deal and making it easier to turn properties on their land into farm shops.
Environment Secretary Therese Coffey said the measures, which include a £30 million investment in new technologies, were about putting “more British produce on supermarket shelves and plates”.