‘Bleak’ winter ahead as food inflation hits new high

Food prices rose at a record rate in the year to November, with the cost of meat, eggs, dairy and coffee climbing particularly sharply.

Food inflation hit 12.4%, up from 11.6% in October, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

It said the soaring cost of energy, animal feed and transport were behind the rise.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Winter looks increasingly bleak as pressures on prices continue unabated. Food prices have continued to soar, especially for meat, eggs and dairy, which have been hit by rocketing energy costs, and rising costs of animal feed and transport. Coffee prices also shot up on last month as high input costs filtered through to price tags. Christmas gifting is also set to become more expensive than in previous years, with sports and recreation equipment seeing particularly high increases.

“While there are signs that cost pressures, and price rises, might start to ease in 2023, Christmas cheer will be dampened this year as households cut back on seasonal spending in order to prioritise the essentials. Retailers continue to do all they can to support their customers and ensure everyone can enjoy the festive season by fixing prices of many essentials, offering discounts to vulnerable groups, raising pay for their own people, and expanding their value ranges.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight, NielsenIQ, said: “With prices still rising, the cost of Christmas will be higher this year and shoppers will be managing their budgets more closely than at any time since the start of cost-of-living crisis. Retailers are now responding by offering seasonal savings and price cuts and will be hopeful of an uptick in shopper spend as we move into December.”

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