Grocery inflation in the United Kingdom reached a record high of 17.5% in March, putting even more misery on consumers already struggling with the rising cost of living.
The price increases were most rapid in markets such as eggs, milk, and cheese, over the four weeks to March 19, according to a report by market researcher Kantar published on Tuesday, March 28.
It was said that if families in the UK did not adjust their shopping habits in order to save prices, they would have to pay an extra £837 ($1,028) on their yearly shopping expenditures. According to Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar:
“It’s more bad news for the British public, who are experiencing the ninth month of double-digit grocery price inflation.”
Higher costs for food and drink in pubs and restaurants drove February’s total consumer price inflation to 10.4%, according to official data from the United Kingdom released only last week. Shortages of salad items also had a part in driving up the price of salad products. The overall inflation rate for food and beverages that do not include alcohol reached 18.0%, the highest level since 1977.
Overall inflation is the highest in 18 years
As per two separate sets of data released on Tuesday by the British Retail Consortium and market researcher NielsenIQ, overall inflation in British shops reached its highest level in at least 18 years in March, driven primarily by increases in the cost of food.
Kantar’s McKevitt said that customers were taking action and looking for the best deal, adding that footfall was higher in every single supermarket in March.
“If people don’t like the prices in one store, they will go elsewhere, with consumers visiting three or more of the top 10 retailers in any given month on average,” he stated.
Shoppers are also buying more products sold under the store’s own label, which are typically less expensive than branded goods. During the course of the last four weeks, year-on-year sales of own-label brands have increased by 15.8%.
Finally, it was reported that overall sales at supermarkets had increased by 8.6% in the 12 weeks leading up to March 19.