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UK households face £271 rise in food bills

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The average UK household is facing a £271 per year rise in food bills as inflation hits grocery prices, according to new data from market research firm Kantar.
The average UK household is facing a £271 per year rise in food bills as inflation hits grocery prices, according to new data from market research firm Kantar. Photo: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty

The average UK household is facing a £271 per year rise in food bills as inflation hits grocery prices, according to new data from market research firm Kantar.

Grocery prices were 5.9% higher in April compared to a year before – the biggest increase since December 2011.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: "The average household will now be exposed to a potential extra £271 per year.

"A lot of this is going on non-discretionary, everyday essentials which will prove difficult to cut back on as budgets are squeezed. We're seeing a clear flight to value as shoppers watch their pennies."

Food prices were rising fastest in markets such as dog food, fresh lamb and savoury snacks, Kantar said.

The number of trips shoppers made to the supermarket has remained steady this year but people aren’t buying as much, with average basket size falling by 4.5% to £22.39.

Read more: Household bills rise for 9 out of 10 UK adults, ONS survey finds

Online grocery sales were down by almost 15% compared with 2021 as shopper confidence about heading out to stores rose with the end of COVID restrictions.

The combination of supply chain issues, the Ukraine war and rising raw material costs are sending prices higher.

The war in Ukraine has increased public awareness of supply pressures, according to Kantar. Some consumers stocked up on items such as cooking oil with several supermarkets introducing restrictions on cooking oil purchases over the weekend.

Ukraine supplies the majority of the UK's sunflower oil and the war has led to disruption to exports, some shortages and an increased demand for alternatives.

The cooking oil market grew by 17% in April, with sunflower oil up 27% and vegetable oil up 40%, according to Kantar.

Major retailers are responding to shoppers’ concerns about rising prices, according to Kantar.

Read more: From milk and bread to iPhones: How retail prices are rising in the UK

Asda announced on Monday it will invest £73m to help UK consumers and staff weather the cost of living crisis as inflation squeezes household budgets.

Morrisons also cut the prices of more than 500 products including eggs, beef and rice to help customers with the rising cost of living while Tesco (TSCO.L) is locking in savings through its Clubcard strategy.

The cost of living squeeze is sending higher numbers of customers to budget supermarkets with over one million extra shoppers visiting Aldi and Lidl respectively over the past 12 weeks compared with this time last year.

Aldi was the fastest growing retailer in the 12 weeks to 17 April with sales rising by 4.2%, followed closely by Lidl which was up 4%.

Both retailers achieved record-breaking market shares, with Aldi now holding 8.8% and Lidl holding 6.6%. Together, the two discounters account for 15.4% of the market – up from just 5.5% ten years ago.

Read more: Heathrow passenger numbers rise as COVID losses top £4bn

Supermarket sales fell by 5.9% over the 12 weeks to 17 April.

For the first time since the pandemic began, sales were also in decline by 0.6% compared with two years ago, as the easing of pandemic restrictions sent people back to offices, pubs and restaurants. However, this compares with the start of the first national lockdown in the UK, when only essential shops like supermarkets were allowed to open.

Watch: Asda and Morrisons drop prices to help struggling shoppers

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