Scores of big name brands – from breakfast cereals to cars – have upped prices by more than a fifth since last year’s Brexit vote.
A number of rises have far outstripped the official inflation rate, which stood at 2.9% in August.
As consumers scrimp and save against a backdrop of stagnating wages and higher inflation, they are also having to contend with dozens of manufacturers and food producers using the fallout from the EU referendum vote to explain away why their goods are costing so much more.
Watchog Which? has conducted extensive research to find out just how much more people are paying for everyday food, cars and electronics.
Using Mysupermarket, an independent shopping site that covers all the major supermarkets (Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose and Ocado), Which? compared the average prices of products between April and June this year with the same period last year.
Researchers identified price increases for many groceries – butter, cakes, jam and fish, for example – but particularly striking hikes for certain brands of cereal, coffee, tea and mayonnaise.
- A 100g jar of Gold Blend coffee cost 12% more year-on-year at £3.70
- Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut cereal 750g cost 22% more, at £3.23
- Hellmann’s Mayonnaise cost 8% more at £1.88 for 400g
- The price of 160 Tetley teabags increased by 13% to £4.01
All the producers said the final price was set by supermarkets, although some did say the rising cost of materials was partly to blame.
Unilever said the cost of the raw materials and packaging of Hellmann’s mayonnaise had increased, and it “always tried to absorb” as much of this as possible before raising prices.
Tetley blamed rising production costs and exchange-rate shifts which had affected commodity prices.
The plunging value of sterling against the euro and the dollar has sent the cost of importing ingredients climbing – and these costs have been passed on to the consumer.
Which? also found that cars have seen a big rise in prices.
The starting price of some new car models has risen by over 20% since the decision to leave the EU.
In the year to July 2017, the starting prices for the Ford Fiesta and Focus – the first and third best-selling cars last year – rose by 17.8% and 14.8%, respectively, to £12,427 and £15,813.
New Vauxhall Corsas and Nissan Qashqais increased by 21.8% and 12.6% to £11,698 and £19,295, respectively.
The table shows 2016 v 2017 average starting prices for the top 10 new car models in the UK
Ford said: “Our UK vehicle sales in sterling have to cover majority production costs in euros. A combination of ‘a softer industry and exchange’ caused $200m (£153m) of lost revenue in 2016, and that this continued into 2017.”
Vauxhall said: “There have been several price increases since the referendum when the pound plummeted – price lifts have varied by model depending on country of origin.”
And, it was a similar story on electronics, with Sonos, the US wireless speaker manufacturer, increasing all its prices earlier this year, including one rise of 25%
Apple and Microsoft items went up by between 12% and 19%.