Retailers forced to offer seasonal discounts as food inflation hits record high

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(Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Winter looks increasingly bleak as UK food inflation soared to 12.4 per cent in November.

According to figures released by BRC today (30), food inflation accelerated strongly to 12.4 per cent in November, up from 11.6 per cent in October. This is above the 3-month average rate of 11.5 per cent. This is the highest inflation rate in the food category on record.

Fresh Food inflation strongly accelerated in November to 14.3 per cent, up from 13.3 per cent in October. This is above the 3-month average rate of 13.1 per cent. This is the highest inflation rate in the fresh food category on record.

Ambient Food inflation accelerated to 10.0 per cent in November, up from 9.4 per cent in October. This is above the 3-month average rate of 9.2 per cent. This is the fastest rate of increase in the ambient food category on record.

Shop Price annual inflation accelerated to 7.4 per cent in November, up from 6.6% in October. This is above the 3-month average rate of 6.5 per cent. This marks another record for shop price inflation since this index started in 2005.

Non-Food inflation accelerated to 4.8 per cent in November, up from 4.1 per cent in October. This is above the 3-month average rate of 4.0 per cent. Inflation remains rose to a fresh series’ high in this category.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said that winter looks increasingly bleak as pressures on prices continue unabated.

“Food prices have continued to soar, especially for meat, eggs and dairy, which have been hit by rocketing energy costs, and rising costs of animal feed and transport. Coffee prices also shot up on last month as high input costs filtered through to price tags. Christmas gifting is also set to become more expensive than in previous years, with sports and recreation equipment seeing particularly high increases.

“While there are signs that cost pressures, and price rises, might start to ease in 2023, Christmas cheer will be dampened this year as households cut back on seasonal spending in order to prioritise the essentials. Retailers continue to do all they can to support their customers and ensure everyone can enjoy the festive season by fixing prices of many essentials, offering discounts to vulnerable groups, raising pay for their own people, and expanding their value ranges,” said Dinckinson.

Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight, NielsenIQ, said that with prices still rising, the cost of Christmas will be higher this year and shoppers will be managing their budgets more closely than at any time since the start of cost-of-living crisis.

“Retailers are now responding by offering seasonal savings and price cuts and will be hopeful of an uptick in shopper spend as we move into December.”