Half of Britons buying less food as prices surge: ONS’ survey

Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Almost half of British people have cut back on food purchases as prices surge, while others are having to spend more on their shopping, according to official figures on Friday (8) which show the scale of the current cost-of-living squeeze.

British consumer price inflation hit a 40-year high of 9.1 percent in May – with food and drink prices up 8.6 percent – and the Bank of England expects the annual CPI rate to exceed 11 percent in October when a 40 percent rise in regulated energy tariffs will hit.

Friday’s figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that 49 percent of people said they had bought less food than normal between June 22 and July 3, up from just 8 percent when the survey began in September 2021.

Another 48 percent said they had needed to spend more than usual on their food shopping. Overall, 91 percent of people said their cost of living had risen over the past month. These figures match reports from British supermarkets that shoppers are under increasing financial pressure.

ONS’s figures come after Sainsbury’s reported a 4 percent drop in underlying quarterly sales on Tuesday (5) while Tesco stated recently that customers were making smaller, more frequent shopping trips and buying cheaper own-brand items.