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Food Inflation Fuels Highest Inflation In February, Since 1977, But Why?

Food Inflation in the UK Hits Record High in February 2023

Food Inflation in the UK Hits Record High in February 2023

Food inflation has hit its highest rate in the UK since 1977, rising to 18.2% in the year to February 2023, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The increase is due to price movements, including the rise in the cost of vegetables last month. Bad weather conditions in the South of Europe and Northern Africa caused shortages, and many growers had to cut back due to the cost of heating greenhouses, due to increased energy costs, and the low price being offered to growers to supermarkets, resulting in domestic growers simply not bothering to put in the effort to grow produce, which ordinarily would be out of season, for little or no financial reward. Select fruit and vegetables had to be rationed in UK supermarkets, with produce having to be transported into the UK from overseas, increasing demand and increasing the costs to supermarkets. That situation has become less of a problem, with availability now increasing, so it shouldn't impact the inflation figures for March.

The annual rate of inflation for vegetables in the year to February 2023 was 18%, the highest rate since February 2009. Bread and cereals, chocolate and confectionery, ready-meals and sauces, and hot beverages were each at the highest rate since at least 2008.

The rise in food inflation is a cause for concern for many households due to the increase in food prices impacting a families disposable income. Bread was up 20.8%, pasta products and couscous up 25.3%, eggs rose by 32.5%, margarine and fats up 30.4%, and pork up 22.4%.

Discounters Aldi and Lidl have seen the steepest increases as the price of some everyday groceries has more than doubled over the last year. According to new data from the consumer magazine Which? Despite global inflationary pressures, Asda has remained the cheapest supermarket for a big shop every month for the last three years.

Morrisons has pledged to spend £25 Million in helping keep prices low and has extended its price lock on 820 products for another two months, plus added another 490 discounted products, including its own brand essentials ranges and more cost-effective for shoppers, frozen products to help keep prices low for hard-up families, and to try and keep its shoppers from migrating to rival discounter supermarkets, not helped by the struggling supermarket announcing it has lost over £2.5Billion since it was taken over two years ago! Even the cost of own-brand items continues to rise. Data revealed that everyday staples such as milk, meat, and fruit had seen the most significant price hikes, with cornflakes, mozzarella, and brie all more than doubling in price.

Food prices are increasingly becoming a concern among Brits, with 74% citing it as a top-five worry in November 2022, up from 52% the year before.

You can see our top tips on how to save money during the cost of living crisis here.

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