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UK inflation: Milk and butter prices drop but sugar rises

UK inflation Supermarket shelves with regular dairy milk in plastic containers and lactose free milk in cartons at Tesco, a UK supermarket
From milk to butter, some everyday items are dropping in price as inflation in the UK eases. Photo: PA/Alamy (Stephen Frost)

UK inflation has fallen sharply to 4.6% in October in the biggest drop for more than three decades but what about food prices?

The pace of price rises for food and non-alcoholic beverages also fell sharply in October, but was still in double-digits.

The annual inflation rate for food and non-alcoholic beverages dropped to 10.1% in October 2023, down from 12.2% in September, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Read more: UK wages grow faster than inflation

That’s an improvement on the recent high of 19.2% hit in March 2023, which was the highest annual rate seen for over 45 years.

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Milk prices dropped by 1.8% and butter saw prices retreat by 6.1% in a relief for UK households. But several everyday items have become costlier, with sugar almost 50% pricier than a year ago.

Within vegetables prices rising also slowed down, notably from crisps, with prices for these products falling by 3.4%

However, oils and fats, and coffee, tea and cocoa provided no change in contribution to the 12-month rate.

The ONS said that although the annual rate at which food prices have been increasing has been slowing, the food price index is still at a high level in comparison to recent years.

Read more: UK inflation: Milk, butter and pasta prices drop

The price of food in October 2023 was around 30% higher than it was in October 2021.

Here is much prices have moved over the 12 months to October:

Food price increases – overall 10.1%

Bread and cereals – 12.2%

Meat – 9%

Fish – 5.5%

Eggs – 17.1%

Low-fat milk – (-1.8)

Oils and fats – 10.9%

Cheese and curd – 9.7%

Fruit – 5.6%

Pizza and quiche – 5.1%

Vegetables – 10.8%

Jams, marmalades and honey – 5.1%

Butter – (-6.1%)

Non-alcoholic beverages – 9.9%

Tea – 15.1%

Coffee – 9.5%

Mineral waters, soft drinks and juices – 9.1%

Alcoholic beverages – 10%

Spirits – 9.5%

Wine – 9%

Beer – 12%

Tobacco – 12.1%

Clothing – 6.6%

Garments – 6.8%

Other clothing and clothing accessories – 5.1%

Footwear – 3.8%

Electricity, gas and other fuels – (-21.7%)

Electricity – (-15.6%)

Gas – (-31%)

Liquid fuels - (-18.3%)

Solid fuels – (-2.1%)

Council tax and rates – 5.1%

Furniture, furnishings and carpets – 2.1%

Tools and equipment for house and garden – 3.4%

Purchase of vehicles – (-0.5%)

New cars – 3.8%

Second-hand cars - (-3.6%)

Motorcycles and bicycles - (-1.1%)

Transport services – 6.3%

Passenger transport by railway – 6.7%

Passenger transport by road – 5.5%

Passenger transport by air – 7.9%

Passenger transport by sea and inland waterway – 9.9%

Postal services – 6.7%

Recreational and cultural services – 4.2%

Recreational and sporting services – 3.8%

Museums – 7.3%

Cinemas, theatres and concerts - 4.7%

Books, newspapers and stationery – 9.5%

Books – 19%

Newspapers and periodicals – 8.6%

Misc. printed matter, stationery, drawing materials – 3.7%

Package holidays – 11.2%

Education – 4.5%

Catering services – 8.5%

Restaurants & cafes – 8.8%

Canteens – (-6.5%)

Accommodation services – 4.3%

Hotels and motels – 3.5%

Personal care – 5.9%

Hairdressing and personal grooming establishments – 4.7%

Appliances and products for personal care - 6.4%

Overall CPI – 4.6%

Food and non-alcoholic beverages – 10.1%

Alcoholic beverages and tobacco – 11%

Clothing and footwear – 6.2%

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels – 3.1%

Furniture, household equipment and maintenance – 3.1%

Health – 8.2%

Transport – 0.5%

Communication – 3.6%

Education – 8%

Restaurant and hotels – 7.6%

Miscellaneous goods and services – 4.8%

Watch: Inflation tumbles to two-year low of 4.6% as energy costs ease

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