Food prices skyrocket to ‘record high’ ahead of Christmas

UK food prices increased at a record high in December as cash-strapped shoppers prepared for Christmas, according to new data.

The British Retail Consortium-NielsenIQ tracker (BRC) revealed food inflation hit 13.3% in December, up from 12.4% in November 2022.

The figures also indicated that fresh food costs contributed most to the rise, through a 15% hike on a yearly basis.

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The price of products such as pasta and tinned food rose by 11% in December against the same month a year earlier, the data added.

This comes as inflation sits at the rate at which prices are rising. According to The Office for National Statistics (ONS), the rate dropped back slightly, but remains close to a 40-year high.

“It was a challenging Christmas for many households across the UK,” said the BRC’s chief executive Helen Dickinson said. “2023 will be another difficult year for consumers and businesses as inflation shows no immediate signs of waning.”

However, according to NielsenIQ’s head of retail and business insight, Mike Watkins, consumer demand is “likely to be weak in Q1” due to the impact of energy price rises and for many shoppers Christmas spending bills arriving.

He added: “So the increase in food inflation is going to put further pressure on household budgets and it’s unlikely that there will be any improvement in the consumer mind-set around personal finances in the near term.

“With shoppers having less money to spend on discretionary retail, having paid for their essential groceries, there will be little to stimulate demand across the non-food channels.”



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