‘Butter has gone up 40% in price’
Yvonne Bidwell, care worker, Swindon
I consider myself a savvy shopper, as I’m on minimum wage. Butter has gone up 40%, but it’s a little luxury I do not want to give up. Meat has increased so much that I rarely buy it and make do with cheap chicken or pork shoulder – lamb and beef joints are out of the question. I have changed the way we eat – we have soup a lot for our main meal now – and make do with less, or change meals to use jars of readymade pasta sauce for 52p and cheap spaghetti for 20p at the end of the month.
Sarah, marketing, south London
We don’t eat meat but have noticed the cost of butter, milk, and other dairy products is much higher than it was. Butter used to be around 80-90p and is now as much as £1.40 for own-brand. A lot of stuff we buy online seems to be 50p more than it was, eg smoked mackerel, a multipack of beans, alcohol etc. We used to aim to feed four of us for £100 a week including booze and treats, now there’s no way we can get it that low. I don’t know where 3% comes from – it feels more like 20-30% here.
Donal O’Hagan, teacher, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland
I would estimate our weekly shop has increased by 30%. We could have managed a weekly shop at £60 or thereabouts – it is now easily coming in at £80 or above. The obvious knock-on effect is either cutting back, higher debt or taking up extra employment if possible. It increases stress and family rows and a general sense of disillusionment and a specific type of anger towards politicians of all hues and also to other groups in society.
I started to notice huge price increases in my online shopping last year. Take for example Tesco lamb chops. My receipt shows that in December 2016 they were £5 for a 550g pack. By March 2017 that had gone up to £5.50. By July 2017 it was £6 for 550g, so 20% up on the December price. As of the end of October 550g of lamb chops is £6.50. In nine months the price has risen 30%.
Other products that have gone up in corresponding ways include salmon, steak and butter. The price of farmed salmon has gone up from £3.50 for two fillets in December 2016 to £4.25. My wages have been the same for years now, so I’ve had to make some changes. I buy far less meat, and I’ve virtually stopped buying alcohol, as it is not essential. But the price hikes are brazen and unprecedented, and totally at odds with the prevailing atmosphere of stagnated wages and austerity that dominates the life of the average shopper.