Winter looks 'bleak' as food prices rise

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Bleak winter ahead: food inflation continues to rise (Credit: Getty/fcafotodigital)
Bleak winter ahead: food inflation continues to rise (Credit: Getty/fcafotodigital)

Related tags Food Finance Inflation

Winter looks “increasingly bleak” as food inflation accelerated to 12.4% in November, the highest inflation rate in the food category on record, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) index.

According to data from the BRC, food inflation soared above the index’s 3-month average rate of 11.5%, rising from 11.6% in October to 12.4% in November, with fresh food having increased from 13.3% to 14.3%, the highest inflation rate for the category on record.

Furthermore, ambient food ​inflation saw its fastest ever recorded rate of increase, jumping well above the 3-month average rate of 9.2% to 10% in November compared with 9.4% in October.  

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “Winter looks increasingly bleak as pressures ​on prices continue unabated.

Cost pressures 

“Food prices have continued to soar, especially for meat, eggs and dairy, which have been hit by rocketing energy costs, and rising costs of animal feed and transport.

“While there are signs cost pressures, and price rises, might start to ease in 2023, Christmas ​cheer will be dampened this year as households cut back on seasonal spending in order to prioritise the essentials.”

Shop price annual inflation accelerated to 7.4% in November, up from 6.6% the previous month, marking another record high for the category since the index started in 2005.

Additionally, non-food inflation increased from 3.1% to 4.8% during the same period.

Riding out the storm 

This comes as the Office for National Statistics (ONS​) earlier this month showed inflation had seen its biggest increase in 40-years while research from Barclaycard​​ revealed 42% of consumers had already planned to curb spending in the on-trade this year.

Furthermore, food price inflation​ was estimated to have hit 19.9% in October, according to the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index.

Prestige Purchasing chief executive Shaun Allen said: “The coming months will be extremely tough for hospitality operators. They will be caught in the squeeze between rapidly rising costs of operation and diners seeking even more value as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.

“Riding out this storm requires investment in supply chain management because, in the hands of skilled professionals, price increases can and should be avoided and mitigated.”

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