UK grocery inflation reaches 9%


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30 May 2023
Mat Megens, personal finance expert and founder of budgeting app HyperJar discusses impacts on consumers and suppliers. 

A new report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and NielsenIQ reveals that the rate of grocery inflation has reached 9%.


This comes after official figures last week showed that overall inflation fell to 8.7% in April, the first time it hit single digits since August last year. Whilst prices of fresh food dropped slightly, the cost of basic commodities jumped, largely owing to the rising costs of food production. As a result, supermarkets have started slashing prices on certain products, with Sainsburys cutting the cost of over 40 of its own-brand products including cheese, yogurt and cream.

Despite the fall in inflation, grocery prices have remained close to the highest rate in 45 years, with a string of external factors such as the soaring cost of energy, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and adverse weather conditions in Europe and Africa as the key contributors to rising costs. Supermarkets have subsequently started introducing customer limits on sales of fruit and veg. 

The UK government is reportedly in talks about asking supermarkets to cap prices on food items to alleviate some of the financial pressures from the cost-of-living crisis. However, the BRC has stated that instead, the government should focus on cutting red tape so resources can be directed to keeping prices as low as possible rather than resorting to a 1970s-style price control. 

Despite this significant fall in inflation reported last week, food prices remain relatively high owing to production restraints. Whilst it's positive that the cost of fresh food is starting to drop, it's extremely sad to see how much the cost-of-living crisis is affecting households across the UK. Food shopping is one of the biggest everyday expenses for most of us and it’s taking increasingly large chunks out of our household budgets.

At HyperJar, what we've seen with our users is that the frequency of visits is increasing dramatically as people ‘shop like chefs’, buying more often so they get only what they need and reduce waste. So, while basket value is stable, overall, monthly spend is higher, reflecting both food inflation as well as people eating at home more rather than dining out.

On a personal level, it's just about making sure we're doing all we can to make our money go as far as possible. There is no magic wand, unfortunately. But we can all drill down into our budgets to understand where our money is going, to save and cut costs where we can.

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In times like this when even the Bank of England doesn't seem to know what's happening, and our government hasn't got the answers, it feels like we don’t have that control over what’s happening around us.


Photo: SHVETS production