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    Food prices soar to record high with coffee and ready meal costs hit



    Food prices have soared to a new record high as consumers continue to feel the pinch in the cost of living crisis, with ready meals and coffee becoming considerably more expensive.

    Overall shop inflation eased back slightly from record highs in April as spring discounts at fashion and furniture stores meant wider retail inflation slowed.

    But food prices increased to 15.7 per cent, the highest on record, during the same period to continue pressure on household budgets, according to the latest BRC-NielsenIQ shop price index.

    The new figures reported shop prices were 8.8 per cent higher in April compared to the same month last year, easing slightly from 8.9 per cent in March.

    It came as non-food stores recorded inflation of 5.5 per cent for the month, slipping from 5.9 cent in March as shops reduced prices in a bid to attract customers.

    This fall offset the jump in food costs to 15.7 per cent from 15 per cent in March.

    Fresh food prices increased by a record 17.8 per cent year-on-year for April, while the price of tinned goods and other store-cupboard items, increased 12.9 per cent.

    Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “Overall shop price inflation eased slightly in April due to heavy spring discounting in clothing, footwear and furniture.

    “However, food prices remained elevated given ongoing cost pressures throughout the supply chain.

    “The knock-on effect from increased production and packaging costs meant that ready meals became more expensive and coffee prices were also up due to the high cost of coffee beans, as well as key producer nations exporting less.

    “Meanwhile, the price of butter and vegetable oils started to come down as retailers passed on cost savings from further up the supply chain.”

    Mr Dickinson added that shoppers “should start to see food prices come down in the coming months” amid reductions in wholesale prices and other costs.

    Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insights at NielsenIQ, said: “In recent weeks, more retailers have used loyalty schemes or money-off promotions to help stimulate sales.

    “However, with inflation yet to peak and sales volumes in decline in many channels, it’s difficult to second guess the strength of consumer confidence.”

    Which British food staples have been hit by inflation?

    Food price inflation has soared this year, with popular cupboard staples such as cheese, oats and white bread all seeing cost hikes.

    Consumer group Which? last month analysed thousands of products in eight supermarkets to see which popular products had the largest price rises.

    For example, cheddar cheese, which accounts for almost half of all cheese sales in the UK, saw a price jump of 28.3 per cent across the major shops.

    Product

    Retailer

    Average 2022

    Average 2023

    Dragon Welsh Mature Cheddar (180g)

    Asda

    £1

    £1.80

    Asda Mature British Cheddar Sticks (5x20g)

    Asda

    £0.95

    £1.70

    Eight Pork Sausages (454g)

    Asda

    £0.81

    £1.40

    Quaker Oat So Simple Protein Porridge Pot (49g)

    Ocado

    £0.94

    £1.56

    Utterly Butterly Spread (800g)

    Sainsbury’s

    £0.48

    £0.78

    Shazans Chicken Breast Fillets (1.8kg)

    Morrisons

    £9.43

    £13.94

    Additional reporting by PA



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