Food inflation has surged to a record 12.4 per cent in the UK amid predictions of dampened Christmas cheer and an “increasingly bleak” winter.
Overall shop prices are now a record 7.4 per cent higher than last November — up from 6.6 per cent in October — according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), whose records date back to 2005.
But food inflation accelerated considerably to 12.4 per cent from October's 11.6 per cent — also the highest rate on record, as rocketing energy, animal feed and transport costs forced up prices.
The BRC-Nielsen IQ Shop Price Index shows fresh food inflation rose even higher to 14.3 per cent, up from 13.3 per cent last month, driven particularly by the cost of meat, eggs and dairy.
Coffee prices “shot up” as high input costs filtered through to price tags, while Christmas gifts are also set to become more expensive than in previous years, with sports and recreation equipment experiencing particularly high increases, the BRC said.
“Winter looks increasingly bleak as pressures on prices continue unabated,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.
“While there are signs that cost pressures and price rises might start to ease in 2023, Christmas cheer will be dampened this year as households cut back on seasonal spending in order to prioritise the essentials.”
Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said: “With prices still rising, the cost of Christmas will be higher this year and shoppers will be managing their budgets more closely than at any time since the start of the cost-of-living crisis.
“Retailers are now responding by offering seasonal savings and price cuts and will be hopeful of an uptick in shopper spend as we move into December.”