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Budget food shoppers hit hardest by price hikes as pasta prices double

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People buying the cheapest value ranges in supermarkets are being hit hardest by inflation, as these lines have soared in price more than their branded equivalents.

Consumer champion Which? tracked the price of 25,000 food and drink items from eight major supermarkets in January where it found average costs soared 15.9% in a year.

However, when looking at the price hikes of value ranges – the cheapest budget or own brand goods offered by supermarkets – these items had risen 21.6% in the year to January 2023.

By individual product, the price of muesli soared from £1.20 to £2.25 at Sainsbury’s (up 87.5%); tins of sliced carrots leapt from 20p to 33p (up 63%) at Tesco, and pork sausages increased from 80p to £1.27 (up 58.2%) at Asda.

By comparison, the more expensive premium ranges had risen in price by a smaller 13.4% over the same period, while standard own-brand goods recorded an 18.9% uplift.

Asda said it is “working hard to keep prices in check for customers”, while Sainsbury’s said “we’re committed to doing everything we can to support customers with the rising cost of living”, mentioning its Aldi price match campaign. Meanwhile, Tesco said it is “keeping a laser focus on the cost of the weekly shop”.

Which? said its food and drink inflation tracker revealed that the poorest in society who are more likely to buy value ranges are being hit hardest by inflation.

As such, it is calling for all supermarkets to ensure budget range items are widely available, and to make pricing and offers more transparent while providing targeted promotions to support people who are struggling the most with access to affordable food.

Pasta price doubles

Separate research from the BBC also revealed that the price of pasta has nearly doubled in two years.

It found a standard 500g bag of pasta was 50p two years ago but now stands at 95p.

It also tracked the cost of a small basket of 15 everyday essentials and found the price has gone up by £5.34 – that’s 34% from £15.79 in 2021 to £21.13 in 2023.

However, when looking at value ranges of these everyday essentials, the BBC found they had gone up by 15% (£1.69).

The report noted: “The cheaper, value basket, hasn’t risen as fast but the rate of increase is much closer to the standard basket over the last year.”

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