Rising cost of basic foodstuffs penalizes poorest, UK study finds | Inflation

More than half of all adults in Britain are buying less food and drink, with soaring costs leaving the most vulnerable the worst off.

People in the most deprived areas of England are the most likely to have cut back on spending, with 61% saying they bought less food when shopping last month, compared to 44% in the least deprived areas and 51 % in Great Britain.

Almost a quarter of people surveyed as part of the Food Standards Agency’s consumer insights tracker said they had skipped or reduced the size of a meal because they could not afford it. buy supplies as food and non-alcoholic beverage prices rose 16.5% over the year to November 2022, the biggest increase since September 1977, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) .

Staples such as bread and cereals saw the biggest price increases, rising 1.9% in the last month alone, contributing to a 16.6% annual increase.

This meant that inflation for low-income households, where staple foods make up a larger share of the budget, was 10.5%, while the figure for high-income households was 9.1. %.

Campaigners and analysts suggest supermarkets have been raising prices in their cut-price ranges faster than luxury items, putting pressure on those who need to save money.

Food writer and activist Jack Monroe was among the first to point to soaring prices for cheaper food items and declining availability on supermarket shelves, contributing to rising hunger and poverty. His campaign prompted Asda to introduce a wider budget range.

Research published this week, which tracked the cost of nearly 19,000 items daily in UK supermarkets from July to December, found that items initially below 75p accelerated at the fastest rate – 16%. By contrast, items priced between £1.50 and £5 in July rose by just under 4%, and those above £5 fell almost 4%.

The items, monitored by price-tracking agency Skuuudle, include many high-value products such as cookies, chocolate, snacks, oils, rice, pasta, cans and food packets .

A Skuuudle spokesperson said the differences made “difficult reading for low-income people who are seeing the cost of many valuable items go up but may not be able to benefit from the price reduction at all. more expensive items. This shift may well be driven by reduced demand for more expensive items as more people turn to value products during the cost of living crisis.

Fears that rising inflation will have a disproportionate impact on members of the poorest households in the UK prompted government analysts to provide a more detailed breakdown of the cost of living from this year.

In October, the ONS reported that the overall price of cheap food in supermarkets had risen by 17% in the year to the end of September. This is nearly double the 9% annual increase measured in the 12 months to April.

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