‘Expensive’ Christmas looms as food prices soar

Food inflation has hit its highest point since November 2020, having more than doubled in the space of a month.

It stands at 1.1 per cent, according to the BRC-NielsenIQ data, while fresh food inflation hit a 15-month high of 1.2 per cent.

The surge – driven by labour shortages, plus rising raw material and transport costs – was enough to push overall shop prices up for the first time in two and a half years.

“With food prices rising… we may find some of our Christmas shopping a little more expensive this year,” British Retail Consortium (BRC) head Helen Dickinson said.

READ MORE: Consumers should expect higher food prices, warns Heinz boss

However, a number of customers may be cushioned from price rises after starting their festive shopping early this year.

Nodding to worker shortages and rising costs, Dickinson expected inflation to “accelerate over coming months”.

She continued: “Government also must play its part and work with industry to find long-term solutions to the labour shortages. 

“This will help to relieve cost pressures and protect the pockets of the British public.”

NielsenIQ head of business insight Mike Watkins said four in 10 households felt their spending was “constrained”.

In recent months, experts have suggested that food inflation could climb over the 10 per cent mark.

Food and Drink Federation boss Ian Wright warned in October that inflation stood at a “terrifying” 14 to 18 per cent for manufacturers.

The founder of supermarket supplier 2 Sisters Ranjit Boparan said the same month that food inflation could reach double digits.

“You’re looking at a different world from now on where the shopper pays more,” he claimed.

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