Personal Finance

Food inflation hits highest on record - what's gone up and what's coming down?

Food prices have inflated by their highest ever amount as the cost of living crisis shows little sign of ending.

Food inflation has hit another record high, but the price of some goods is finally starting to fall.

The cost of food rose 15.7% in April, with fresh groceries soaring 17.8%, and store cupboard items increasing 12.9% year on year.

Ready meals and coffee were worst affected by price rises, while butter and vegetable oil prices are finally starting to fall.

In other areas, non-food stores recorded inflation of 5.5%, down from 5.9% in March, due to clothing and furniture retailers slashing prices to attract customers.

Overall, shop price inflation was at 8.8% for April compared to the same period last year. This was a slight improvement on March which was at 8.9% according to the British Retail Consortium-NielsenIQ shop price index.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: "Overall shop price inflation eased slightly in April due to heavy spring discounting in clothing, footwear, and furniture.

"However, food prices remained elevated given ongoing cost pressures throughout the supply chain.

"The knock-on effect from increased production and packaging costs meant that ready meals became more expensive and coffee prices were also up due to the high cost of coffee beans, as well as key producer nations exporting less.

"Meanwhile, the price of butter and vegetable oils started to come down as retailers passed on cost savings from further up the supply chain."

Ms Dickinson predicted shoppers should start to see the cost of food come down "in the coming months" as wholesale price drops feed through to supermarket shelves.

There has been criticism of supermarkets not passing on savings and instead exploiting high inflation to boost profits in what unions brand "greedflation".

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Competition and Markets Authority to investigate claims supermarkets are raising prices higher than inflation to profiteer from the cost of living crisis.

Last week Sainsbury's announced it made £690m profit in the year to March 4, while Tesco made £753m profit last year. However, both profit margins were smaller than the previous year.

Ed Davey, leader of the Lib Dems, said: “We need to bring soaring food prices back under control and offer relief to families. That means cracking down on profiteering by food multinationals and the big supermarkets so customers get a fair deal.”

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Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.


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