Discounters Aldi and Lidl have seen the steepest increases as the price of some everyday groceries has more than doubled over the last year, reveals new data from Which?.
According to the consumer watchdog – which analysed inflation on more than 25,000 food and drink products at Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – the annual inflation rate for food and drink items in February was 16.5%, as the cost of own-brand items continues to rise.
Looking at the average price of the products in the three months to the end of February compared to the same time last year, Which? found that prices increased most at Lidl and Aldi, where inflation was 24.4% and 22.7% respectively.
Although the discounters remain generally cheaper than bigger rivals, they also have less room for flexibility when it comes to passing costs on to customers.
The data revealed that everyday staples such as milk, meat and fruit have seen the biggest price hikes, with cornflakes, mozzarella and brie all more than doubling in price.
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While inflation rates have dropped slightly among some of the higher inflation categories – such as butters and spreads – it has risen across other essentials, such as with vegetables, juice drinks, smoothies and cereals.
“Worryingly our tracker shows that some everyday essentials have more than doubled in price over the last year – with cheaper own-brand items particularly hard hit,” Which? head of food policy, Sue Davies said.
“Supermarkets need to step up and ensure everyone has easy access to basic, affordable food ranges at a store near them, particularly in areas where people are most in need.”
Davies added: “Retailers must also provide transparent pricing so people can easily work out which products offer the best value.”
Food prices are increasingly becoming a concern among Brits, with 74% cited it as a ‘top five’ worry in November 2022, up from 52% the year before.
A Lidl spokesperson said: “We are extremely concerned that since the launch of this ‘tracker’ Which? has consistently chosen to publish information that we, and other retailers, have confirmed to be incorrect.
“This includes data for products that we do not even sell.” Which? said Lidl has “failed to say what the inaccuracies are”.
An Asda spokesperson also commented: “We’re working hard to keep prices in check for customers despite global inflationary pressures and we remain the lowest-priced major supermarket – a position recognised by Which? in their regular monthly basket comparison which has named Asda as the cheapest supermarket for a big shop every month for the last three years.”