Personal Finance

How much are food prices rising?

You've probably heard it in the news or noticed for yourself when doing the weekly shop, but food prices are rising. How much more are people paying for groceries now? The NimbleFins team took a look at RPI data to find out. Here's what we found.

Food prices are rising. Whether you've noticed your own food bills going up or you've just heard about it, you're probably wondering how much more food is costing these days. And if prices will continue to rise. Let's see what the data says.

Food price RPI

The food and catering inflation time series is published by the Office for National Statistics each month. These figures show the percentage change in food and catering costs over 12 months. For example, food prices rose 2.3% from October 2020 to October 2021.

As you can see in the chart below, food prices are much more stable now compared to 40 years ago. And prices rises are generally modest in comparison to the mid-1970s, when prices were rising more than 20% year on year.

In fact, for the 13-month period from July 2020 to July 2021, food prices were essential flat. That is, the average of the 12-month percentages changes over this period was 0.

Chart showing the historical increase in food prices in the UK

However, in August 2021, prices started rising. During the three months ending October 2021, food and catering prices were on average 2.9% higher than the same period a year earlier.

  • Aug 2021 vs Aug 2020: +4.4%
  • Sept 2021 vs Sept 2020: +2.0%
  • October 2021 vs October 2020: +2.3%

What does this mean for average grocery bills?

Our food cost study shows that in the year ending March 2020, the average household (2.4 people) spent £64 a week on groceries to eat at home. By our calculations, food prices today are roughly 3.1% higher than the the prices in that study. As a result, we expect that today, in October 2021, the typical household now spends around £66 per week on groceries. This is a modest increase, but those on a tight budget may very well feel it.

And if prices continue to rise then this will certainly have a larger impact on household budgets.


Here is the monthly food RPI data from January 2020 to October 2021.

Food price percentage change over 12 months (January 2020 to October 2021)
2021 OCT2.3%
2021 SEP2.0%
2021 AUG4.4%
2021 JUL0.2%
2021 JUN0.3%
2021 MAY-0.4%
2021 APR0.1%
2021 MAR-0.7%
2021 FEB0.2%
2021 JAN0.1%
2020 DEC-0.3%
2020 NOV-0.2%
2020 OCT0.8%
2020 SEP0.3%
2020 AUG-2.1%
2020 JUL1.7%
2020 JUN1.9%
2020 MAY2.4%
2020 APR2.3%
2020 MAR1.9%
2020 FEB1.6%
2020 JAN2.0%
Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the Founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.


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