Prices for some of the UK’s most loved grocery items have soared over the last two years, a new study has revealed.
Supermarkets have hiked the price of 265 lines by more than a fifth, with Tesco raising the price of household favourtie Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut 21.4 per cent and Sainsbury’s lifting Warburtons’ four-seeded thin bagels 24.5 per cent, according to consumer watchdog Which?.
Availability of budget ranges at supermarkets has shrunk over the same period dealing a blow to households seeking cheaper products to offset the cost of living crunch.
Which? said economy lines had the lowest level of inflation at 0.2 per cent.
Supermarkets’ standard ranges jumped 2.8 per cent and premium lines climbed 3.2 per cent.
The fresh research adds further evidence of the tough time households are going through at the moment.
Inflation is running at its highest level since the early 1980s, hitting nine per cent in April, the Office for National Statistics said earlier this week.
Regular pay adjusted for price rises is falling at the steepest rate in around a decade.
However, swelling energy, wage and logistics costs are squeezing supermarkets’ margins, strengthening incentives for them to raise prices to protect profits.
Which?’s research indicates food retailers are using shrinkflation – when products are smaller but sold for the same price – to offset cost pressures.
Sue Davies, head of food policy and consumer rights at Which?, said: “Our research reveals that eye-watering price rises are being exacerbated by practices like shrinkflation and limited availability of all-important budget ranges — and these factors are combining to put huge pressure on household shopping budgets.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told City A.M.: “We know that customers are counting every penny right now and we are doing all we can to help them. We are relentlessly focused on keeping prices low on the products that our customers buy most often such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy and fresh produce.”
Earlier this week, Bank of England Andrew Bailey sounded an “apocalyptic” alarm on looming food inflation caused by wheat and sunflower oil supplies being stuck in Ukraine due to the war.
A Tesco spokesperson told City A.M.: “We are committed to providing great value for our customers.”