Inside staggering £271 rise in your food shop – why your bills are increasing

Cost of living: Farmer discusses price increase of food

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As the UK faces the worst cost of living crisis in recent history, household bills continue to soar across the board. Brits are having to fork out over 50 percent extra for energy bills, battle a seven percent increase in inflation, and now could be due to foot a much larger bill for food costs in the year to come.

Research company Kantar found the price of groceries to be 5.9 percent higher than a year ago, making for the biggest increase since December 2011.

This price hike was monitored to take place in the 12 weeks to April 17, while over the latest four-week period, sales fell by 4.1 percent.

Asda and Morrisons are considered the most vulnerable in the midst of sales drops, as the supermarket giants have suffered a 10.3 percent and 10.5 percent fall in sales respectively over the past 12 weeks.

This nearly six percent rise in food bills is predicted to add a staggering £271 to your household finances, which, along with the energy bill, fuel price rise, and National Insurance hike, isn’t setting Britons up for an easy year, financially.

James Heappey, armed forces minister, said: “The cost of living is getting to such a point now where even people on good wages are struggling to make ends meet and they are looking to the Government to help them with solutions.”

So why are food prices increasing despite Britons buying less?

Why are food bills rising?

According to Fraser McKevitt, Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight, people are having to spend more on “non-discretionary, everyday essentials which will prove difficult to cut back on as budgets are squeezed”.

A number of factors are contributing to these prices hikes that are overall impacting the wider soaring cost of living crisis.

The Ukraine war has increased inflationary pressures on food supply chains – most particularly in wheat and sunflower oil. Distribution lines have been largely disrupted, making for a reduction in available food resources.

Last weekend, supermarkets introduced restrictions on cooking oil purchases while some chains told customers that ingredients may be substituted for palm oil because of the increased sourcing difficulties.

Inflation has also risen at its fastest rate in 30 years, as the UK saw an unprecedented seven percent increase in March.

This has had a knock-on effect on consumers, as companies are now having to pass on their growing production and distribution costs.

However, supermarkets appear to be acting on cost pressures to help households afford the basics.

Mr McKevitt said: “We’re seeing a clear flight to value as shoppers watch their pennies.

“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.”

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Are the Government planning to help?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called a cabinet meeting on Tuesday to discuss the cost of living crisis, stating that tackling the issue must be a “team effort”.

Mr Johnson said: “With household bills and living costs rising in the face of global challenges, easing the burden on the British people and growing our economy must be a team effort across cabinet,”

“We have a strong package of financial support on offer, worth £22 billion, and it’s up to all of us to make sure that help is reaching the hardest-hit and hard-working families across the country.

“We will continue to do all we can to support people without letting government spending and debt spiral, whilst continuing to help Brits to find good jobs and earn more, no matter where they live.”

Downing Street said Mr Johnson would sign off on new support when he chairs a “domestic and economic strategy committee” in the “coming weeks”.

However, it was suggested no new money would be provided in the coming months to ease the pain after Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned against rising public debt or inflation.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he wants to see “an emergency budget, not a Cabinet meeting” to address the cost-of-living crisis.

He told reporters in Stevenage: “The cost-of-living crisis has been staring us in the face for six months now and it’s a real problem for people struggling with their bills – and the Cabinet meeting this morning isn’t going to change any of that.”

He said the Government has done “very little in relation to energy bills” and “made a bad situation worse by choosing to put taxes up.”

Louise Haigh, shadow secretary of state for transport, said: “The Conservative Government needs to set out an emergency budget to tackle its cost of living crisis — and support Labour’s call to put money back in the pockets of working people.”

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