Food inflation soared to a record 11.6% in October as even basics such as tea bags, milk and sugar all saw significant price rises, figures show.
Overall shop prices are now 6.6% higher than they were this time last year – also a record – but food inflation jumped well above September’s 10.6% and the three-month average rate of 9.7%, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Nielsen Shop Price Index.
Fresh food prices are now 13.3% more than last October, up from 12.1% in September.
Non-food inflation accelerated to 4.1%, up from 3.3% in September.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “It has been a difficult month for consumers who not only faced an increase in their energy bills, but also a more expensive shopping basket.
“Prices were pushed up because of the significant input cost pressures faced by retailers due to rising commodity and energy prices and a tight labour market.
“While some supply chain costs are beginning to fall, this is more than offset by the cost of energy, meaning a difficult time ahead for retailers and households alike.”
Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said: “External factors are keeping shop price inflation at record highs and the challenging economic conditions are significantly impacting consumer confidence and retail spend.
“With pressure growing on discretionary spend across both non-food and food retail, delivering good value is the table stake in the battle for shopper loyalty over the next eight weeks.”
Which? head of food policy Sue Davies said: “Soaring food prices are a real concern, and our research shows millions of consumers are already skipping meals or struggling to put healthy meals on the table due to the cost-of-living crisis. It is vital that households get the support they need from the government and businesses.
“Supermarkets have a crucial role to play in helping their customers navigate the tough months ahead. Budget lines for healthy and affordable essential items need to be widely available across their stores and they should ensure shoppers can easily compare the price of products to get the best value. Promotions should be targeted at supporting those most in need.”