Scottish Daily Mail

Families are hammered as new year food bills rocket

- By Sean Poulter Consumer Affairs Editor

THE prices of many household food essentials are rising at more than 10 per cent a year, fuelling the cost of living squeeze.

A tsunami of price increases on everything from beef and bread to milk, eggs and peas has been revealed in a survey for the Daily Mail. Industry analysts looking at five major supermarke­ts typically see around 2,700 increases in early January, but this year it is closer to , 00.

Across all food retailers, almost 10,000 products have shot up in price over the new year.

Research by price tracking and retail analysts Assosia looking at a basket of common products found an average increase of 6 per cent in the past year.

For someone spending £ 30 a month on groceries, around the UK average, that adds up to an extra £25 a month.

Some of the increases on big-selling household name products are particular­ly startling.

The survey picked up an 18 per cent hike on a tin of Heinz baked beans and 12 per cent on beef mince, frozen peas and Jordans cereals. The increase was 11 per cent on supermarke­t-brand chocolate digestive biscuits, 9 per cent on milk, 8 per cent on eggs and 7 per cent on wholemeal bread.

The biggest hikes the survey found were 32 per cent on Stork baking spread and 22 per cent on Lurpak lighter blended butter and rapeseed.

Assosia director Kay Staniland said: ‘We have seen a huge rise in price increases in the last week to ten days.’

Some of the base rate prices identified in the survey may be mitigated with promotiona­l reductions, but she warned: ‘Once those promotions stop, the increases will be felt.

‘Consumers are more used to shopping around for deals, but with the reality of higher transport, commodity and fuel costs impacting the food supply chain and grocery sector it is inevitable that costs will start to rise more rapidly,’ she added.

‘Staff shortages are also impacting the grocery sector, so maintainin­g a good supply chain is also critical during this period. It’s a little hard to see any winners in the current climate.’

Earlier this week, a survey from the British Retail Consortium put the annual rise in the cost of fresh food at 3 per cent, which is the highest rate in nine years.

Its chief executive, Helen Dickinson, said: ‘The trajectory for consumer prices is very clear: they will continue to rise, and at a faster rate.

‘Retailers can no longer absorb all the cost pressures arising from more expensive transporta­tion, labour shortages, and rising commodity and global food prices. Consumers will already be harder pressed this year, with rising energy bills, the looming hike in national insurance and more expensive mortgages.

‘Government should relieve some of these costs by looking for long-term solutions for resolvable issues such as labour shortages.’

A supermarke­t price survey by Kantar has put grocery price inflation at 3.5 per cent. It reported a rise of 12.2 per cent on fresh beef, 9.5 per cent on fresh lamb, 11. per cent on savoury snacks and 9. per cent on crisps.

‘It’s hard to see any winners in this climate’

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