Grocery inflation at highest level in a decade

Monthly grocery price inflation has reached 5.9 per cent, the highest level since December 2011.

According to figures from Kantar, despite the price increases, there is still evidence that UK shoppers spent a bit more over the Easter period.

Premium own label products performed better than any other lines, with sales up by 6.5 per cent.

The results show that with the war in Ukraine impacting supply chains, people bought more cooking oil and sales were up by 17 per cent this month.

But overall supermarket sales were down by 5.9 per cent over the past 12 weeks compared to last year when restrictions were in place.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, sales are in decline by 0.6 per cent compared to two years ago, as the period now includes the start of the first lockdown when only essential shops were allowed to open.

Kantar said that this month’s figures should be considered in the context of lockdown easing, with sales over the latest four weeks falling by 4.1 per cent as people returned to the office, restaurants, and pubs.

“The average household will now be exposed to a potential price increase of £271 per year,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight, Kantar. “A lot of this is going on non-discretionary, everyday essentials which will prove difficult to cut back on as budgets are squeezed.

“We’re seeing a clear flight to value as shoppers watch their pennies. The level of products bought on promotion, currently at 27.3 per cent, has decreased 2.7 percentage points as everyday low-price strategies come to the fore. The major retailers are listening to shoppers’ concerns, with Asda launching its Just Essentials line, Morrisons announcing that it is cutting the price of many everyday goods, and Tesco locking in savings through its Clubcard strategy.”

Supermarket growth

Aldi has been the fastest growing retailer in the past few months, with sales jumping by 4.2 per cent over the 12 weeks to 17 April. It was closely followed by Lidl, which was up 4 per cent.

“Over one million extra shoppers visited Aldi and Lidl respectively over the past 12 weeks compared with this time last year,” added McKevitt. “Both retailers achieved record-breaking market shares, with Aldi now holding 8.8 per cent while Lidl stands at 6.6 per cent. Collectively, the two discounters account for 15.4 per cent of the market – up from just 5.5 per cent a decade ago.”

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