Food inflation reached a staggering new high of 14.5 per cent in February, according to new data, with retail groups predicting that prices will continue to rise over the coming months.
While inflation more broadly has started to come down, food inflation soared to 14.5 per cent in February, up from 13.8 per cent the previous month, according to new figures published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
This is above the three-month average rate of 13.8 per cent, and is the highest food inflation rate on record.
Fresh food prices reached16.3 per cent up from 15.7 pet cent in January, while the price of ambient food, such as canned soups and vegetables, increased to 12.2 per cent this month, up from 11.3 per cent at the start of the year.
“While we expect to see the annual inflation rate reduce in the second half of this year, retail prices will remain high over the coming months,” Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said.
“Government must avoid any additional costs on business as this will jeopardise retailers’ ability to best support their customers and keep prices low throughout this cost-of-living crisis,” she added.
Myron Jobson, senior personal finance analyst, told City A.M. that costs facing supermarkets such as high energy bills and the tight labour market are severely impacting grocery stores’ bottom line.
“Many retailers are finding that they can no longer absorb the vast majority of these costs and unfortunately consumers are feeling the brunt of that,” he said.
The figures come as grocers are also currently battling supply shortages of staples such as tomatoes and peppers due to poor weather in southern Europe and northern Africa, which has disrupted crop growth.
All major supermarkets have limited sales of the goods, with the shortages expected to last until April or May.