Posted: Wed 7th Dec 2022

Budget and own brand ranges worst impacted by raging supermarket inflation

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Dec 7th, 2022


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Prices of supermarket own-brands and budget ranges have gone up more than premium and branded foods during the cost of living crisis, according to new Which? research that reveals hikes of up to 175 per cent over 12 months.

The consumer champion’s supermarket food and drink inflation tracker shows huge price hikes on everyday budget and own brand products at a time when many households will be relying heavily on basic supermarket ranges to feed themselves and their loved ones.

Which? tracked the annual inflation of tens of thousands of food and drink products across seven months at eight major supermarkets – Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – to see how inflation is impacting everyday products.

The new monthly tracker is unique in that it shows how inflation is affecting individual product prices month on month, as well as ranges such as budget and own brand and even by the supermarket to give the first publicly-available overview of what consumers are facing when they reach the tills.

The first wave of data from the tracker reveals that supermarket own brand and budget ranges have shot up on average by as much as 18 per cent year or year compared to around 13 per cent for premium own brand ranges and 12 per cent for branded foods.

The biggest price increases on supermarket budget food and drink for the quarter ending October 31 between 2021 and 2022 were on Creamfields Soft Cheese ( 200G) at Tesco, which went from 49p to 84p – an increase of 72 per cent and Sainsbury’s Simply Muesli (1kg) which went from £1.20 in 2021 to £2.03 in 2022 – a 70 per cent increase.

When Which? experts looked at the 20 worst budget products for inflation across the supermarkets for the same period, it found other Tesco products including Hearty Food Co. 2 Garlic Chicken Kievs (260G), Growers Harvest Orange Juice( 3X200ml) and Rosedene Farms Small Pear Pack (550G) all soaring above 60 per cent in price over the year.

Sainsbury’s groceries also featured in this list of the worst inflation of budget items with its bottled water – Hubbard’s Foodstore Sparkling and Still Waters (2L), J James & Family Fresh British Chicken Breaded Kyiv With garlic Butter x2 (240g) and Mary Ann’s Dairy Soft Cheese 200g all going up in price by over 50 per cent over the 12-month period.

Mid-priced own-brand products tended to be where supermarket prices had risen the most.

The most striking increase for this period was on Waitrose chocolate chip shortbread 200g which almost tripled in price going from 82p in October 2021 to £2.25 in October 2022 – an increase of 175 per cent. However Waitrose had some of the lowest inflation overall.

The second biggest increase on a single mid-priced own-brand product was Asda’s chilli con carne ready meal 400g that went from £1.20 to £2.79 – a 132 per cent increase.

Also at Asda, two versions of its Free From cream cheese products  – ASDA Free From Soft Cheese Alternative 170g and ASDA Free From Garlic & Herb Soft Cheese Alternative 170g – saw the next most significant increases from 93p to £2.12, an increase of 128 per cent.

Interestingly the worst supermarkets for overall inflation on food and drink year on year were Aldi (19.6%) and Lidl (19%). However both discounters still tend to be the cheapest of the big supermarket chains to shop in overall.

The discounters were followed by Asda(15.2%), Morrisons (14.4%), Waitrose (14.2%), Sainsburys (13.7%) and Tesco (12.6%). Ocado had the least inflation overall (10.3%)

Despite overall supermarket inflation hitting a shocking 15 per cent, according to Which?’s tracker typically cheaper own brand and budget items may have risen much more sharply.

However, these budget lines still tend to be cheaper than branded and unbranded food and drink so Which? believes supermarkets should do more to ensure they are widely available throughout all branches – including in smaller convenience stores.

They should also provide targeted promotions to support people in the areas that are struggling most with access to affordable food.

Sue Davies, Which? Head of Food Policy, said:

“Our inflation tracker lays bare the shocking scale of soaring food and drink prices – including on budget and own-brand products.”

“While the data paints a bleak picture, we hope the tracker will help millions of people find the best possible value with their weekly shop during the cost of living crisis.”

“We know the big supermarkets have the ability to take action and make a real difference to people struggling through the worst cost of living crisis in decades.”

“That’s why we’re calling on them to ensure everyone has easy access to basic, affordable food lines at a store near them, can easily compare the price of products to get the best value and that promotions are targeted at supporting people most in need.”

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