In the UK, food price inflation is at its highest within the past four years driven by rise in the price of fish, fats and vegetables.
Till last year, the food inflation was at a steady 0.6% and this year that value has sharply risen by 4.25% last month compared to what it was 12 months earlier, shows new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Britishers could be facing an expensive Christmas dinner this year according to British Retail Consortium (BRC) which noted that the October increase in food prices was the highest since 2013.
The sharpest increase was noted in the price of fish at 8.5%, while vegetables noted 5.7% increase, fats and oils 5.6% increase and milk, cheese and eggs increased by 4.8%.
In the last one year, beer prices have risen by 4.3% while that of tea, coffee and cocoa have risen by 8.5%.
But in October, the overall cost of living increased by 3% which was the same as he previous month due to cheaper fuel and deep discounting by retailers.
The Bank of England’s expectation of a small rise as confounded by a 3% rise in the consumer price index (CPI) which is the government’s preferred measure of inflation which noted a similar rise in the second consecutive month. The Bank of England’s governor Mark Carney, has to write an explanatory letter to the chancellor, Philip Hammond in case there is any inflation over 3%.
The retailers were being forced to offer bargains because the consumers were influenced to spend less in other areas of spending due to higher food bills, said Rachel Lund, the BRC’s head of retail insight and analytics. She warned: “It may be an expensive Christmas dinner this year as a [result] of more costly imports and higher world food prices, particularly for dairy products.”
Lund added: “With more of consumers’ incomes being absorbed in spending on food, retailers of non-food products are having to compete harder for business. In a dismal month for non-food sales, shoppers were offered significant discounts, leading to a drop in the inflation rate of goods such as furniture and clothing.”
The market research group Kantar Worldpanel’s new research was also underlined by the upward pressure on grocery bills. In the latest period of 12-week that was monitored by the company, since the start of 2017, there has been an uptick in the food-price inflation after it had fallen between September 2014 and 201, and now was at 3.4%. in just as few sectors like crisps and fresh poultry, there was a fall in prices while butter, fish and cola noted the sectors where prices were rising the fastest, it pointed.
The hardest hit by the rise in food prices would be the poorer families, said Stephen Clarke, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation. “While the headline rates of inflation remained unchanged, the drivers of inflation have continued to shift – and are hitting less well-off families particularly hard,” Clarke said.
“Food and drink prices increased faster than at any point in the last four years, while clothing prices also rose at a rate above overall inflation. The rising cost of these basic items affects low- and middle-income households far more than better-off households, who are also being cushioned by static fuel costs.”
(Adapted from The Guardian)