Food prices soar by fastest rate since 2011

Prices in shops have risen at the fastest rate in over a decade in February, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed.

Fresh food prices have been central to the inflation rise, followed by beauty and furniture products.

According to the BRC-Nielsen IQ price index, fresh food inflation has risen sharply to 3.3% in February, up from 2.9% in January.

READ MORE: Discounters Aldi and Lidl continue to grow as grocery inflation hits 4.3%

Additionally, shop inflation has increased by 1.5% in January to 1.8% in February – marking the highest rate of inflation since November 2011.

The BRC has cited poor harvests both domestically and abroad for contributing in part to the rising food prices.

Additional retailer costs from higher shipping rates, labour shortages, rising energy prices and product price increases are expected to be passed onto and swallowed by the consumer.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson has noted that retailers have gone to “great lengths to mitigate against these price rises and support their customers, for example, many supermarkets have expanded their value ranges for food.”

However, Dickinson also added there were “limits to the costs that retailers can absorb”.

The news comes as ONS figures have shown a three-decade high in inflation with CPI expected to reach 8% by April if the government doesn’t intervene.

Tesco has also previously stated that the “worst is yet to come” for rising food prices.

The sentiment has been echoed by food poverty campaigner Jack Monroe who has commented on the inaccuracy of the CPI, explaining rising prices are going up more than the official inflation rate has claimed.

With the cost-of-living crisis squeezing household budgets on top of rising national insurance tax and soaring bills – the increasing costs of essential foods are expected to hit low-paid workers the hardest.

The situation is expected to be exasperated by the Ukraine conflict, where key commodities such as vegetable oil and maize will rise in price.

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