The cost of supermarket staples such as pasta, tinned tomatoes and jam have increased by 8% across Britain’s supermarkets in just one year, revealed figures from the BBC.
Changes in the average cost of food items at Big 4 grocers Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco were measured by retail research firm Assosia. It found the price of a basket of 15 standard food items rose by £1.32 in 2021.
The firm tracked a number of product prices as part of the research for BBC News, including tortilla chips, fish fingers, honey, blueberries, carrots and lemons. Most saw price rises, although some items fell in price, with carrots and mild cheddar seeing small declines.
The same basket of food containing items chosen from supermarkets’ basics and value ranges was cheaper by 45p (or 4%). But within that, some items such as pasta and vanilla ice cream still saw rises of more than 6%.
The company recorded more than 17,000 price increases in January, more than double the number in the same month last year. The increases spanned across every essentials category, with the price of some staples increasing by more than 40%.
With inflation affecting every stage of the food supply chain, from energy and labour costs to raw materials and packaging, supermarkets are looking to balance increasing costs with shoppers who are also feeling the pinch.
The news comes after figures released last month from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed that shoppers are facing the steepest price rises for almost ten years, the highest since October 2013.
Assosia director Kay Staniland said the findings were a result of selecting popular products that were comparable across both value and standard ranges of value and standard.
“Looking at food prices is a bit of a minefield,” she told the BBC.
“I think the figures show that retailers are trying to avoid the biggest increases to value lines as much as possible. But these value lines do make up a small part of total ranges. The standard mid-tier range is where the largest volume of sales come from.”
Asda recently extended its budget range across all of its supermarkets and online, following a series of attention-grabbing tweets from anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe.