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UK food prices fall for the first time in two years

A vegetable stall, London.
A vegetable stall, London. Copyright Alastair Grant/AP
Copyright Alastair Grant/AP
By Eleanor Butler
Published on Updated
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The cost of groceries in the UK was down 0.1% in September from the previous month, according to an industry body.

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The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said on Tuesday that prices had been slashed on products such as dairy, margarine, fish and vegetables, and households paid less for school uniforms and back-to-school essentials.

The consortium also confirmed that food inflation slowed to 9.9% in September, down from 11.5% in August.

This is below the 3-month average rate of 11.4% and is the fifth consecutive deceleration in the food category.

General shop price annual inflation, which includes non-food products, also slowed to 6.2% in September, down from 6.9% in August.

Decelerating inflation means that prices are rising at a slower rate, not that they are falling. This means that this September, shoppers still paid around 10% more for their goods compared to the same period last year.

The price fall of 0.1% was calculated on a month to month basis, rather than looking at annual differences.

Lower costs can be explained by competition between retailers, says the BRC.

The group predicts a continued fall in shop price inflation over the rest of the year, but nonetheless points to factors that could jeopardise this trend.

Notable risks are high interest rates, spiralling oil prices, global shortages of sugar and supply chain disruption caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

BRC CEO Helen Dickinson has urged retailers to continue supporting consumers as general living costs remain high.

In the European Union, food price inflation was at 10.6% in August, down from 12.4% in July, and 3.7% less than in August 2022.

The figure has been falling rapidly since March, when it was recorded at 19.6%.

Member states like France, Germany, Belgium, and Poland have been witnessing a similar trend.

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