Price of ‘everyday’ groceries have soared 17% in the past year, ONS data shows
The cost of the lowest-priced supermarket items such as cooking oil, pasta and tea has increased by around 17% over the 12 months, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The rise in prices for the lowest-cost grocery items is similar to the 15% rise in the official measure of inflation for food and drink,
Vegetable oil showed the largest percentage increase and average price increase between April 2022 and September 2022, increasing 46% (80 pence per litre) during the period; in contrast, orange juice showed the largest decrease, decreasing 8% (6 pence per litre).
The war in Ukraine has pushed prices of agricultural products to historically high levels.
Black Sea countries are large exporters of sunflower oil, and the crisis has pushed vegetable oils prices significantly higher.
The ONS also found that chips were up 27 pence to £1.37 for 1.5kg and Milk was up 25 pence to £1.52 for 4 pints.
Some items have reduced in price, including fruit orange juice and beef mince, down 8.9% and 7.4% respectively.
|Milk||2272ml (4 pints)||117||127||152||35||25|
Source: Office for National Statistics – Tracking the lowest cost grocery items
The ONS figures were based on web-scraped supermarket data for 30 everyday food and drink items from seven major grocers’ websites, covering fresh produce, meat and fish, as well as cupboard staples and chilled products.
“What we are seeing is that the price of low-cost goods is going up at the same rate as food across the piece with some real highlights… cooking oil and pasta, I would add tea, chips and bread to that – really going up and very, very few things going down at all,” the chief executive of the UK Statistics Authority, Prof Sir Ian Diamond, told the BBC.
“We are really seeing that the squeeze on people who buy the lowest cost things is pretty hard at the moment.”
When asked whether things are getting worse, he said: “I think things are tight. I think we are not seeing much of a getting worse at all but we are seeing things remaining really tight.”
The ONS said the data was ‘highly experimental research’, based on web-scraped supermarket data for 30 everyday grocery items and was less robust than official statistics.
Consumer watchdog Which? recently launched a campaign calling on businesses in essential sectors – supermarkets, telecoms and energy – to do more to help their customers through the cost of living crisis.
Sue Davies, Which? Head of Food Policy, said:
“The price of food is soaring and our research shows that the cost of living crisis is leading to millions of people skipping meals or struggling to put healthy meals on the table.”
“It is therefore essential that people get the support that they need from businesses, as well as the government, during this very difficult time.”
“Supermarkets have a crucial role to play in supporting their customers through the difficult months ahead.”
“They should ensure budget lines for affordable essential items are widely available across their stores, so that people 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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