supermarkets hit record-high inflation in the UK

Shoppers hunt for the best deals as supermarkets hit record-high inflation in the UK.

Several shoppers have started turning to multiple supermarkets for bargains as price inflation at supermarkets in the UK has increased the average annual household bill to £837.

According to the most recent statistics from the data firm Kantar, year-over-year price hikes for groceries reached a record high of 17.5% in the four weeks to March 19, compared to a year earlier. The fastest rate of price increases is seen in milk, eggs, and cheese. The most recent price increases result in an average yearly household grocery cost of £5,617, according to Kantar. 

Consumers are shopping around, visiting three or more of the top 10 food retailers each month to get the best deals.

The head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, Fraser McKevitt, stated, “Unfortunately, it’s more bad news for the British public, who are experiencing the ninth month of double-digit grocery price inflation.”

“However, shoppers are taking action and clearly hunting around for the best value. Footfall was up in every single grocer this month, with households going to the shops just over four times a week in March. Apart from Christmas, that’s the highest frequency we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic.”

“The supermarkets are also tackling grocery price inflation, battling it out to demonstrate value and get customers through their doors. This is a fiercely competitive sector, and if people don’t like the prices in one store, they will go elsewhere.”

By and large, in the 12 weeks to March 19, grocery sales surged by 8.6%.

In response to worries about product shortages brought on by rising energy prices, Brexit, and the climate crisis, purchases of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers increased by 32%, 26%, and 21%, respectively, in independent stores last month. Some salad items were rationed at several stores, such as Asda and Morrisons.

Kantar stated that people have started shopping for Easter as the sales of chocolate eggs increased by 6% in volume compared to last year and those of hot cross buns by 5%.

While Aldi, a competitor, set a new record market share of 9.9%, Lidl, a German discounter, saw the highest growth among supermarkets. Morrisons only managed a 0.1% increase in sales due to increased food prices, which also caused a sharp decline in the number of items it sold. In a similar vein, John Lewis-owned Waitrose reported a 2.1% increase in revenue but witnessed a 4.5% decline in market share as a result of a decrease in the amount of merchandise it sold.

The head of food policy at the consumer group “Which?,” Sue Davies, stated that: “Month after month we’ve seen a dramatic increase in food prices, but our monthly supermarket price analysis shows that some supermarkets are much cheaper than others, so it’s unsurprising that people are choosing to shop where prices tend to be the lowest.”

“Supermarkets must ensure everyone has access to basic, affordable food with clear unit pricing to help shoppers to compare items and find the best value option for them. Budget ranges also need to be more widely available across stores, so consumers are not forced to pay over the odds to put healthy food on the table.”

Meanwhile, Ocado’s retail joint venture with Marks & Spencer reported first-quarter sales of £584 million, up more than expected on higher customer numbers. The average basket size decreased to 45 items over the 13 weeks leading up to February 26, but this was countered by an 8.3% increase in the average sales price, resulting in a flat average basket value. Customers are now again placing orders at the same frequency as before Covid.

The Ocado Retail chief executive, Hannah Gibson, stated that customers were buying more chilled and frozen food products compared to fresh food, thus spending less on them.

- Published By Team Timeswire

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