Supermarkets are charging over twice as much as a year ago for some everyday groceries at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is forcing Britons into poverty, a new report has revealed. Research by consumer group Which? found that grocery inflation had resulted in budget ranges rising by 22.9 percent and own-brand items by 19.7 percent between February last year and this year.
Whereas premium and branded counterparts were subject to rises of just 13.8 percent and 13.3 percent respectively.
Some of the worst-hit items include own-brand cereals and cheese products, according to the latest findings from the consumer champion’s food and drink inflation tracker.
Cereals saw some of the biggest hikes as Asda upped the price of its Free From Special Flakes (300g) from 62p to £1.43 (129 percent) and Morrison’s Free From Corn Flakes (300g) saw an increase of 115 percent from 60p to £1.29.
Some cheese products have also rocketed over the last year. Waitrose’s Essential Italian Mozzarella (drained 150g) went from 62p to £1.43 (129 percent), Tesco Creamfields French Brie (200G) up from 82p to £1.65 (103 percent) and Lidl’s Chene D’argent Camembert (250g) up from 99p to £2 (102 percent).
The analysis looked at more than 25,000 food and drink products at the UK’s leading supermarkets: Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose.
Which? looked at the items with the highest inflation at each supermarket to find which products have seen the biggest percentage price rises.
The analysis covered the average price of the products in the three months to the end of February 2023 compared to the same time period last year.
When Which? looked at inflation by supermarket it found that while the discounters remain generally cheaper than bigger rivals, it seems they have less room for flexibility when it comes to passing costs on to customers.
The tracker shows prices were up 24.4 percent at Lidl, compared to 22.7 percent at Aldi, 17 percent at Asda, 16.7 at Morrisons, 14.2 at Waitrose, 14.1 percent at Sainsbury’s,14 percent at Tesco and 10.3 percent at Ocado.
Which? is campaigning for all supermarkets to ensure that budget line items that enable an affordable and healthy diet are widely available, particularly in areas where people are most in need.
Sue Davies, Which? Head of Food Policy, said: “Worryingly our tracker shows that some everyday essentials have more than doubled in price over the last year – with cheaper own-brand items particularly hard hit.
“Supermarkets need to step up and ensure everyone has easy access to basic, affordable food ranges at a store near them, particularly in areas where people are most in need.
“Retailers must also provide transparent pricing so people can easily work out which products offer the best value.”
An Asda spokesperson said: “We’re working hard to keep prices in check for customers despite global inflationary pressures and we remain the lowest-priced major supermarket – a position recognised by Which? in their regular monthly basket comparison which has named Asda as the cheapest supermarket for a big shop every month for the last three years.
“We recently announced we would be freezing the prices of over 500 popular branded and own-label products, more than half of which are fresh meat, dairy, fruit and vegetable products until the end of May.”
A Lidl spokesperson said: “We are extremely concerned that since the launch of this ‘tracker’ Which? has consistently chosen to publish information that we, and other retailers, have confirmed to be incorrect. This includes data for products that we do not even sell.”
A Morrisons spokesperson said: “This is an unprecedented period of inflation and we are working hard to keep prices down and competitive for our customers while maintaining high standards and availability in all our stores.
“We recently reduced the price of 1,000 popular products and remain committed to doing all we can to help when it comes to the cost of grocery shopping.
“Our Morrisons Easter Collector scheme is also now live for eligible My Morrisons members enabling them to receive a significant money-off voucher to spend at Easter if they meet the criteria and shop in the relevant weeks.”
An Ocado spokesperson said: “At Ocado, everything we do starts with our customers and we know how important value is to them right now.
“We continue to support our customers by investing in price across branded and own-brand products. We’ve also recently introduced the Ocado Price Promise so customers can be sure they’re getting great value.”
A Waitrose spokesperson said: “Although no retailer is immune to inflation, particularly with dairy products comprising the majority of this basket, we’ve been working hard to keep prices as affordable as possible for our customers – and have already committed a record £100m to lower the prices on hundreds of everyday staples.”
Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Aldi were contacted for comment.
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