Fruit and veg shortages push UK food inflation to new high

Shortages of fruit and greens helped push UK meals inflation to a report excessive in March, in accordance with the most recent trade knowledge, suggesting there was little signal of any let up on households combating the price of dwelling disaster.

Annual meals inflation reached 15 per cent, up from 14.5 per cent in February and the very best since information started in 2005, the British Retail Consortium mentioned on Tuesday. The largest worth rises affected recent meals, with inflation up 0.7 factors to 17 per cent.

Helen Dickinson, chief government of the BRC, mentioned “poor harvests in Europe and north Africa worsened availability” of fruit and greens and the weak point of sterling additional pushed up the price of imports.

Costs of fruit and greens grown out of seasons in greenhouses within the UK and different northern European nations had been additionally affected by excessive power prices.

Dickinson added that the rising value of sugar had additionally fed by into increased costs for chocolate and different sweets because the Easter holidays approached. Meals inflation hits the poorest households the toughest as grocery purchasing accounts for a bigger proportion of their spending.

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and enterprise Perception at NielsenIQ, which helps compile the information, mentioned the inflationary pressures had compelled clients to alter their habits. Retailers had seen “extra visits however much less basket spend, as buyers handle their weekly meals payments by purchasing little and extra typically and searching for out the bottom costs.”

The BRC knowledge means that worth progress of meals and non-alcoholic drinks has continued to speed up this month. In February, official meals inflation hit a 45-year excessive of 18.2 per cent, in accordance with the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics knowledge launched final week.

Total, the official knowledge confirmed inflation rose unexpectedly month-on-month in February to 10.4 per cent from 10.1 per cent. The Financial institution of England, which has a 2 per cent inflation goal, subsequently raised charges by one other quarter level to 4.25 per cent in an effort to curb pricing pressures.

Susannah Streeter, head of cash and markets, at Hargreaves Lansdown, a monetary providers firm, mentioned the price of dwelling disaster was “exhibiting little signal of dying down.”

The quick progress of meals costs pushed BRC store worth inflation to a brand new report excessive of 8.9 per cent in March, up from 8.4 per cent the earlier month. Non-food store inflation rose a extra modest 5.9 per cent, contained by reductions on house leisure tools and different electrical home equipment.

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