Crisps and soft drinks lead surge in UK food prices as inflation rises

Analysts predict rising costs of groceries will push hard-pressed consumers to shop around even more

Last modified on Tue 9 Nov 2021 09.38 EST

Food price inflation reached a 14-month high in October with the prices of favourite snacks such as crisps and soft drinksrising the most, according to new figures.

Annual grocery price inflation reached 2.1% last month which is the highest since August 2020, according to grocery market analysts Kantar.

Fraser McKevitt, the Kantar head of retail and consumer insight, said that faced with higher prices shoppers could start to quit their normal supermarket for a cheaper store. Shoppers already on average visit more than three different stores every month to find the best deals, he said.

“Grocery prices are rising and this month inflation hit its highest rate since August 2020, when retailers were still cutting promotions to maintain stock on the shelves,” said McKevitt. “As prices increase in certain categories, we can expect shoppers to continue to visit several supermarkets and shop around to find the best deals.”

The grocery price inflation figure of 2.1% is based on Kantar’s survey of 75,000 products. While prices are rising fastest in the crisps and soft drinks aisles, it said the price of bacon, vegetables and cat and dog treats were falling.

The most recent official data reported consumer price inflation (which also tracks other things including clothing and transport costs) was 3.1%. The Bank of England has predicted inflation could rise above 5% by early next year.

After last year’s lockdowns Kantar said shoppers were keen to make the most of calendar milestones this year. An unrestricted Halloween drove sales of pumpkins up by more than a quarter in the four weeks to 31 October and, with trick or treating back on the cards, seasonal confectionery grew by 27%.

After 2020’s cancelled Christmas, Britons appear determined not to have another one ruined. They are stocking up on long-life foods such as puddings and frozen turkeys, as well as gifts, with John Lewis launching its festive advert a week early, after seeing a rise in searches for festive products.

“With Christmas ads out earlier than ever and Christmas stock on the shelves, we’re keen to prepare early this year,” said McKevitt, who added that 4.7m households bought mince pies in October while 1.6m bought their Christmas pudding which was 400,000 more than last year.

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