Food inflation accelerates as shop prices rise for first time since May 2019

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Food Inflation, Rising Food Prices
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Shop prices have risen for the first time since May 2019 last month, driven by rising food prices and decline in non-food deflation.

According to the BRC-Nielseniq Shop Price Index, shop price rose by 0.3 per cent year on year in November compared to October’s decrease of 0.4 per cent.

Non-food deflation has slowed to 0.1 per cent last month compared to the decline of 1 per cent in October, also marking the slowest rate of decline since May 2019.

Food inflation accelerated to 1.1 per cent in November up from 0.5 per cent in October, the highest inflation rate since November last year. Fresh food inflation accelerated to 1.2 per cent in November up from 0.3 per cent in October and ambient food inflation accelerated to 0.9 per cent, up from 0.8 per cent in October.

“The impact of labour shortages, rising commodity prices and transportation costs have now very clearly taken their hold on consumer prices,” Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said.

“With food prices rising, and particularly fresh food – which saw the highest inflation since 2019 – we may find some of our Christmas shopping a little more expensive this year. Food was also affected by a rise in global food costs where certain staples, such as vegetable oil, have doubled in price in the past two years.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said the significant increases in energy and travel costs are adding pressure to household budgets, noting that the remaining weeks of the golden quarter could be an uncertain time for shopper spending.

“NielsenIQ shopper research shows that 4 in 10 households feel that their spending is constrained and whilst inflationary pressures are now coming from both food and non-food, retailers continue to keep hold back increases in shop prices ahead of Christmas,” Watkins added.

Dickinson said the rate of inflation could accelerate over coming months as ongoing labour shortages throughout the supply chain expected to continue for some time, with no signs of relief to the rising costs of transport and commodities.

“Retailers are doing all they can to mitigate the impacts for their customers, government also must play its part and work with industry to find long-term solutions to the labour shortages as this will help to relieve cost pressures and protect the pockets of the British public who are already facing mounting costs from increasing energy prices and the looming rise in national insurance,” she said.