Cost of living: price of everyday groceries 'more than doubles' in 12 months, says consumer brand Which?

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The price of items such as milk and fruit have more than double at stores such as Tesco, Asda and Aldi

The cost of every day items from the UK's biggest supermarkets has more than doubled over the past year, consumer brand Which? has revealed.

Food bills have been among the expenses hitting households hard as the cost of living continues to put millions of people under pressure. The new analysis of supermarket prices complied by Which? has shown that the pressure has significantly increased over the past 12 months in particular.

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More than 25,000 food and drink items at some of the most popular shops in the UK were analysed. This included supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, Aldi, Asda, Morrison's, Waitrose and Ocado.

Which? looked at prices at all of the retailers for three months to the end of February 2023. This was then compared to prices from the same date range from 2022.

What were the findings of the Which? analysis?

Which? found that the annual inflation of the most popular food and drink items rose by an average of 16.5% across all retailers included in the tracker. This was particularly notable in categories such as milk, fruit, vegetables and meat, as well as cereal products, smoothies and juices.

It was also found that own-brand products were hit harder by rising inflation. This was in comparison to branded or premium products at the same supermarket.

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The data complied by Which? shows that Free From Special Flakes (30g) from Asda had risen in price by an astonishing 129%. The price year-on-year rose from 62p to £1.43.

Some of the most popular supermarket items such as milk and fruit were among those noted to have seen a significant increase in the past year. (Credit: Getty Images)Some of the most popular supermarket items such as milk and fruit were among those noted to have seen a significant increase in the past year. (Credit: Getty Images)
Some of the most popular supermarket items such as milk and fruit were among those noted to have seen a significant increase in the past year. (Credit: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Other products analysed included Waitrose's Essential Italian Mozzarella Strength (drained 150g). The price of the popular cheese product increased by 121%, from 80p to £1.77.

At Morrison's, the data showed that a 300g packet of Free From Corn Flakes rose by 115%. The price increased from 60p to £1.29.

Meanwhile, a 2 litre bottle of Hubbard's Foodstore Water from Sainsbury's, 200g of Creamfield French Brie from Tesco and 250g of Chene D’argent Camembert from Lidl all more than doubled in price.

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What has been said about the findings?

Sue Davies, Which? head of food policy, said of the data: “Worryingly our tracker shows that some everyday essentials have more than doubled in price over the last year – with cheaper own-brand items particularly hard hit. Supermarkets need to step up and ensure everyone has easy access to basic, affordable food ranges at a store near them, particularly in areas where people are most in need.

“Retailers must also provide transparent pricing so people can easily work out which products offer the best value.”

A representative for Lidl refuted some claims made by the tracker, stating that items that were not for sale at the retailer had been included. A spokesperson said: “We are extremely concerned that since the launch of this ‘tracker’ Which? has consistently chosen to publish information that we, and other retailers, have confirmed to be incorrect. This includes data for products that we do not even sell.”

However, Which? has responded to these claims. The consumer brand said that Lidl had "failed to say what the inaccuracies are".

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Other supermarkets commented on their commitment to keeping prices as low as possible for customers amid the cost of living crisis. An Asda spokesperson said: “We’re working hard to keep prices in check for customers despite global inflationary pressures and we remain the lowest-priced major supermarket – a position recognised by Which? in their regular monthly basket comparison which has named Asda as the cheapest supermarket for a big shop every month for the last three years.

“We recently announced we would be freezing the prices of over 500 popular branded and own label products, more than half of which are fresh meat, dairy, fruit and vegetable products until the end of May.”

A Morrison’s spokesperson said: “This is an unprecedented period of inflation and we are working hard to keep prices down and competitive for our customers while maintaining high standards and availability in all our stores.

“We recently reduced the price of 1,000 popular products and remain committed to doing all we can to help when it comes to the cost of grocery shopping.”

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An Ocado spokesperson said: “We continue to support our customers by investing in price across branded and own-brand products. We’ve also recently introduced the Ocado Price Promise so customers can be sure they’re getting great value.”

A Waitrose spokesperson said: “Although no retailer is immune to inflation, particularly with dairy products comprising the majority of this basket, we’ve been working hard to keep prices as affordable as possible for our customers – and have already committed a record £100 million to lower the prices on hundreds of everyday staples.”

Aldi declined to comment on the data. Sainsbury's and Tesco were contacted for comment.

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