Food inflation in the UK remains a major concern for households as prices continue to soar. According to the latest CPI inflation report, food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation surged to 19.1% per year in March, marking the fastest rate of increase in over 45 years. Food prices alone rose by 19.6% per year, with bread and cereal prices up 19.4%, meat prices up 17.4%, and fish prices up 16.7%. Even basic items like milk and eggs saw significant increases, with whole milk prices soaring by 37.9% and eggs rising by 32%.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) attributes the rise in food prices to poor harvests and the weak pound. With poor harvests in Europe and North Africa reducing availability, and the weak pound making importing more expensive, prices for fruits, vegetables, and sugar have all gone up. The BRC also notes that discounting in other areas, such as furniture and clothing, has helped to ease inflation.
“With food price inflation likely to slow in the coming months as we enter the UK growing season, we expect wider inflation will continue to ease. Nonetheless, prices for consumers will remain high, especially as household bill support is lifted.
While food price inflation may slow down in the coming months as the UK enters the growing season, households will continue to face high prices, especially as household bill support is lifted. Moreover, the disruption caused by the Ukraine war has also affected supplies of items like olive oil, which has seen a 49.2% increase in price compared to last year.
Here’s a breakdown of the price changes which kept UK inflation at 10.1% in March.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages: 19.1%
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco: 5.3%
Clothing and footwear: 7.2%
Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels: 26.1%
Furniture, household equipment and maintenance: 8.0%
Recreation and culture: 4.6%
Restaurants and hotels: 11.3%
Miscellaneous goods and services: 6.7%
Overall, goods prices rose by 12.8% in the year to March, while services inflation stuck at 6.6%
The high food inflation rate has put a significant strain on households' budgets, with many struggling to afford basic necessities. The UK government has been urged to take action to address the issue, including increasing support for low-income families and investing in sustainable food production. As the global climate continues to change, it is likely that food prices will remain a major concern for many households in the years to come.