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Five ways to save on your supermarket shop as food inflation hits a record high

Rebecca Goodman
Written By:
Rebecca Goodman

Food inflation hit a record high of 12.4% in November, up from 11.6% in October, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The cost of meat, dairy and eggs rose at a particularly fast rate with inflation on fresh foods rising to 14.3%, from 13.3% in October.

Increasing costs to animal feed, fuel and transport were blamed on the rise.

Shop price annual inflation, which measures the price of a basket of 500 commonly bought items, rose to 7.4% in November, up from 6.6% in October. This is the highest level seen since the index started in 2005.

Ambient food inflation, covering foods that can be stored at room temperature, rose to 10% in November, up from 9.4% in October. The fastest rate of increase in this category on record.

“Winter looks increasingly bleak”

Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the BRC, said: “Winter looks increasingly bleak as pressures on prices continue unabated.

“Food prices have continued to soar, especially for meat, eggs and dairy, which have been hit by rocketing energy costs, and rising costs of animal feed and transport. Coffee prices also shot up on last month as high input costs filtered through to price tags.

“Christmas gifting is also set to become more expensive than in previous years, with sports and recreation equipment seeing particularly high increases.”

Five ways to cut the cost of your food shop

Prices are rocketing but there are ways to cut back, including with the following five tips.

1) Shop at the cheapest supermarket

There’s a big range of shops to choose from and prices vary considerably between them. Many supermarkets have also cut the cost on certain products in response to the cost of living crisis. Tesco, for example, recently announced it was reducing the price of 1,000 everyday products until 2023.

It’s also worth shopping around and comparing prices. In October, Aldi was the cheapest supermarket, with a basket of 48 groceries costing an average of £75.79. The same or equivalent items from the priciest supermarket in the analysis, Waitrose, cost £101.17 – that’s a £25.38 saving.

2) Get rewarded for your spending

Lots of supermarkets have loyalty schemes where you can earn points when you shop. At Tesco, for example, you’ll get access to exclusive discounts when you show your Clubcard and earn one point for every £1 spent. While you can save between 50p (with Sainsbury’s Nectar) and £5 (Iceland) for every £100 spent when using a supermarket loyalty scheme.

3) Cut the cost of your Christmas shop

Brits are set to spend around £300 more this year because of rising prices with the cost of the Christmas lunch up by around 11%.

But there are ways to cut back. By choosing alternative (and cheaper) options and shopping around to find the best prices. Choosing a cheaper option doesn’t mean you need to compromise on taste either.

In the Christmas Which? taste test, for example, Waitrose’s Brown Butter Mince Pies with Cognac scored the top prize in terms of flavour but Aldi’s Specially Selected Mince Pies came in a close second with the added bonus of costing almost 50% less (£1.75 for 6, or 29p per pie).

At Yourmoney.com, we also revealed five more tips this week on how to cut the cost of your Christmas feast.

4) Choose supermarket-own brands

Several reports have shown that shoppers are turning to own-branded goods and wonky veg as a way to save money. Spending on essential items, for example, grew 7.2% in the year to August, with data showing more people are cutting back to weather the rising cost of living.

Shoppers can make significant savings by opting for supermarket own-brand products over more expensive branded items. Last month, we looked at how much you can save and other tips for cutting your supermarket shop.

5) Where to find help if you’re struggling

With news this month that food banks are at breaking point, and with the cost of food soaring, it’s important to know where you can find help if you are struggling.

Contact your local food bank to ask for help, you’ll need to be referred to be able to access it by someone like a school or your doctor. You can find out more information and the location of your local food bank on the Trussell Trust website. You can also contact your local council to ask for help through the Household Support Fund, or any other schemes it is running.