Cost of living crisis milk

The price of 30 everyday staple grocery items rose, on average by 7% in the last year, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released at the end of last month. These analysed the price of food-and-drink products, using supermarket data over the 12 months to April 2022. 

It showed lowest-priced items have increased in cost by around as much as average food and non-alcoholic drinks prices. 

For 13 of the 30 sampled items monitored, the average lowest price, across the seven retailers, increased at a faster rate than the latest available official consumer price inflation measure for food and non-alcoholic beverages, with a 6.7% rise. 

The largest price rises, on average, were for beef mince, up by 32p for 500g to £2.34, and chicken breast, up by 28p to £3.50 for 600g. Pasta (up by 17p), vegetable oil (14p), and crisps and rice (both 12p) showed the next-largest rises. 

However, the largest average fall in the lowest price was measured for potatoes, down by 12p to 75p for a 2.5kg bag, followed by cheese, down by 7p to 88p for 255g and pizza, by 4p to 95p for 300g. 

Last month, prices accelerated at the fastest rate in more than a decade, according to the latest shop price index from the British Retail Consortium and NielsenIQ, with food inflation jumping from 3.5% in April to 4.3% in May. 

Experts attribute the acceleration to the combination of the Ukrainian crisis, Brexit and Covid-19

Financial specialist EY’s UK&I retail lead Silvia Rindone has predicted a focus on own-label and ‘value for money’ options in future. “Retailers will need to respond quickly to consumers’ concerns and select the right value strategy for their businesses to retain cost-conscious shoppers,” she said. “This could include exploring ways to reduce their own cost base and range rationalisation to reduce supply-chain costs.” 

Yearly product price comparison

in April 2021 
in April 2022 
Beef mince 500g 202 234 32 
Chicken breast 600g 322 350 28 
Pasta 500g 36 53 17 
Vegetable oil 1000ml 164 178 14 
Crisps 150g 71 83 12 
Rice 1000g 80 92 12 
Mixed frozen vegetables 1000g 78 89 11 
Orange fruit juice 1000ml 63 72 
Bread 800g 47 54 
Breakfast cereal 500g 69 76 
Biscuits 400g 39 45 
Fruit squash 750ml 44 49 
Ham 200g 160 164 
Tomato ketchup 460g 58 61 
Baked beans 400g 29 31 
Fish fingers 250g 75 77 
Onions 1000g 65 67 
Tea 125g 86 88 
Bananas 5 pack 73 74 
Granulated sugar 1000g 66 67 
Instant coffee 100g 134 135 
Milk 4 pints 126 127 
Tomatoes 400g 64 65 
Yoghurt 500g 54 55 
Apples 6 pack 96 94 -2 
Chips 900g 119 116 -3 
Sausages 454g 87 84 -3 
Pizza 300g 99 95 -4 
Cheese 255g 95 88 -7 
Potatoes 2500g 87 75 -12