Supermarket bosses fear food prices will continue to rise until the end of the year despite slowdown in inflation
- Co-Op boss Matt Hood said inflation ‘keeps us up at night’ as food costs will rise
- Cost of food and drink rose 16.7% last month – higher than overall 10.1% inflation
Food prices will continue to soar until the end of the year despite an overall slowdown in the rate of inflation, supermarket bosses warned yesterday.
The cost of food and drink rose by 16.7 per cent last month, only a fraction down on the 16.8 per cent recorded in December and well above the overall inflation figure of 10.1 per cent, the Office for National Statistics said.
Many essentials have rocketed in price, pushing up household grocery bills.
The price of low-fat milk has risen by more than 45 per cent, olive oil by 44 per cent, cheese by over 30 per cent and eggs by 20 per cent.
Grocery retailers say rising prices are a major cause for concern, with Co-Op Food boss Matt Hood describing inflation as ‘the thing that keeps us up at night’.
The cost of food and drink rose by 16.7 per cent last month, only a fraction down on the 16.8 per cent recorded in December and well above the overall inflation figure of 10.1 per cent, the Office for National Statistics said (file photo)
Co-Op Food boss Matt Hood described inflation as ‘the thing that keeps us up at night’
He told the BBC: ‘We are trying our hardest not to flow it all through to our customers.’
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But Mr Hood warned that soaring grocery costs ‘will probably still be with us… unfortunately until the back end of the year’.
Waitrose boss James Bailey said it was a ‘very, very difficult market out there’ for consumers.
‘The budgets are being squeezed very tightly… food inflation is part of that challenge,’ he told Times Radio.
Analysts warned that surging food prices will hit poorer families harder, as they tend to spend a higher proportion of their income on essentials such as energy and groceries.
The Resolution Foundation think-tank estimated the poorest tenth of households are facing an effective inflation rate of 11.7 per cent, compared with only 8.8 per cent for the richest.
‘With energy and food prices remaining stubbornly high, poorer households continue to face far higher living costs than richer families,’ said research director James Smith.
The comments came as UK inflation slowed for the third month in a row, to 10.1 per cent in January, down from 10.5 per cent in December.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt (pictured) said while the drop in inflation was ‘welcome’, the battle against rising prices was ‘far from over’
That was lower than the forecast of 10.3 per cent and well below the four-decade high of 11.1 per cent seen in October.
Last month’s fall was partly due to the lower cost of petrol and diesel, which spiked following the outbreak of war in Ukraine, as well as falling prices at restaurants and hotels.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said while the drop in inflation was ‘welcome’, the battle against rising prices was ‘far from over’.
He added: ‘High inflation strangles growth and causes pain for families and businesses – that’s why we must stick to the plan to halve inflation this year, reduce debt and grow the economy.’
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