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Cost of food staples like porridge and cheese up by as much as 80%

John Fitzsimons
Written By:
John Fitzsimons

The cost of everyday food items has rocketed by as much as 80%, the latest food price tracker from Which? has revealed.

Which? monitors the prices of more than 26,000 food items across eight major supermarkets to track how costs are changing. 

It found that porridge oats have been particularly hit by inflation, rising by an average of 35.5% in the three months to March compared with the typical price a year ago.

This was just ahead of semi-skimmed milk, at an average of 33.6%, and cheddar cheese, at an average of 28.3%.

However, Which? noted that these averages mask some incredible rises which have taken place on individual products.

For example, Dragon Welsh mature cheddar at Asda jumped from £1 to £1.80 over the period, an increase of 80% over the year.

Similarly, the cost of Quaker Oat So Simple protein porridge at Ocado rose from 94p to £1.56, an increase of 65.5%, while soft white medium sliced bread at Asda moved by 67% from 56p to 94p.

Budget items seeing big price hikes

Which? pointed out that it is often the cheapest products which are being hardest hit by inflation.

While overall supermarket inflation was found to be 17.2% in March, compared with 16.5% last month, there was a much higher jump of 24.8% in own-label budget items.

This increase is more pronounced than the rise of 20.5% seen on standard supermarket own-brands, while among branded goods and premium own-brand ranges there was an increase of 13.8%.

Biggest price increases taking place at budget supermarkets

This trend is also being reflected in the supermarkets seeing the most pronounced price increases.

Lidl and Aldi were found to have hiked prices most significantly, by 25.2% and 23.7% respectively. 

That’s far higher than the likes of Asda (17.5%), Sainsbury’s (15%) and Tesco (14.4%).

The smallest increase was seen at Ocado, where food prices rose by just 10.7% over the period.

Supermarkets must do more

Sue Davies, head of food policy at Which?, said that the findings paint “a bleak picture” for the millions of households already skipping meals because of inflation, with the poorest bearing the brunt.

She continued: “While the whole food chain affects prices, supermarkets have the power to do more to support people who are struggling, including ensuring everyone has easy access to basic, affordable food ranges at a store near them, particularly in areas where people are most in need.

“Supermarkets must also provide transparent pricing so people can easily work out which products offer the best value.”