Posted: Wed 22nd Mar 2023

Cost of some everyday groceries has more than doubled in a year, Which? finds

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 22nd, 2023

The price of some everyday groceries has more than doubled over the last year as the cost of own-brand items continues to rise, according to the latest findings from Which?.

In February, the consumer champion’s tracker analysed inflation on more than 25,000 food and drink products at eight major supermarkets – Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – to see how everyday product prices are being affected.

Which? looked at the items with the highest inflation at each supermarket to find which products have seen the biggest percentage price rises. The analysis covered the average price of the products in the three months to the end of February 2023 compared to the same time period last year.

The items where the average price has risen the most were Asda’s Free From Special Flakes (300g) and Waitrose’s Essential Italian Mozzarella Strength 1 (drained 150g) – which went from 62p to £1.43 (129%) and 80p to £1.77 (121%) respectively. Morrison’s Free From Corn Flakes (300g) also rose significantly from 60p to £1.29 (115%).

Sainsbury’s Hubbard’s Foodstore Water (2L), Tesco Creamfields French Brie (200G) and Lidl’s Chene D’argent Camembert (250g) have also more than doubled in price over the last year – going from 17p to 35p (106%), 82p to £1.65 (103%) and 99p to £2 (102%) respectively.

The consumer champion found a range of everyday items in each supermarket’s list of groceries with the highest inflation – including milk, meat and fruit. Own-brand products were particularly hard-hit and featured heavily in most supermarkets’ lists. For example, Aldi’s Nature’s Pick Honeydew Melon, which went from 95p to £1.70 (79%).

The exception to this is Ocado’s list, which only includes branded items. Cadbury’s Milk Tray Chocolate Box 360g saw the highest inflation at Ocado, rising from £4.21 to £7.81 (86%).

This reflects the trackers’ findings that overall, budget (22.9%) and own-brand (19.7%) items were again subject to higher rates of inflation than premium (13.8%) and branded counterparts (13.3%). Although, some branded products – such as Lurpak – have made headlines in recent months for their price increases.

The tracker shows that in February, the annual inflation of popular food and drink was at 16.5 per cent overall across the eight retailers. While the inflation rates have dropped slightly among some high inflation categories – such as butters and spreads, which dropped from 29.9 per cent last month to 26.1 per cent this month – it has risen across other essential categories.

The inflation rate for vegetables has seen an increase from 11.6% to 13%, while juice drinks and smoothies have jumped from 13.4% to 15.1%. Similarly, cereals have also seen a rise from 13.4% to 14.6%.

Given these increases, it might be more cost-effective to consider preparing your own vegetable smoothies at home, potentially leading to significant savings.

When Which? looked at inflation by supermarket it found that while the discounters remain generally cheaper than bigger rivals, it seems they have less room for flexibility when it comes to passing costs on to customers.

The tracker shows prices were up 24.4 per cent at Lidl, compared to 22.7 per cent at Aldi, 17 per cent at Asda, 16.7 at Morrisons, 14.2 at Waitrose, 14.1 per cent at Sainsbury’s,14 per cent at Tesco and 10.3 per cent at Ocado.

Which? is campaigning for all supermarkets to ensure that budget line items that enable an affordable and healthy diet are widely available, particularly in areas where people are most in need. They must also make pricing and offers more transparent so that people can easily work out which products are the best value.

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

“Worryingly our tracker shows that some everyday essentials have more than doubled in price over the last year – with cheaper own-brand items particularly hard hit.

“Supermarkets need to step up and ensure everyone has easy access to basic, affordable food ranges at a store near them, particularly in areas where people are most in need.

“Retailers must also provide transparent pricing so people can easily work out which products offer the best value.”

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