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Grocery bills up £800 a year as Brits resort to eating out of date food

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Shoppers face paying £788 more on their annual grocery bill as price inflation reaches a record high, with some Brits resorting to eating food past its use by date.

As Brits cope with the cost-of-living crisis, one in five adults said they were eating smaller portions, while the same number admitted to eating out of date food.

Those with dependant children, severe depressive symptoms and adults with diabetes were more likely to go to these extremes.

According to the analysis of the cost of living and the impact of winter pressures on different population groups, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed one in seven adults were somewhat, or very, worried that their food supply would run out before they had money to buy more.

This is more a worry for Asian and other ethnic groups, together with adults with one or more dependant children.

And for one in 20, this was a reality as they ran out of food and couldn’t afford to buy more in the past two weeks.

In the four weeks to 18 December 2022, of those who ran out of food in the past two weeks and couldn’t afford to buy more, 70% were also unable to keep warm.

For 45%, they spent less on food and essentials, while 3% said they were using support from charities, such as food banks.

One in five reported drinking less alcohol, while 3% said they actually drank more. Elsewhere, 1% reported smoking more, while 5% had decreased their habit.

Record grocery price inflation adds £788 to shopping bills

The figures from the ONS come as separate data from consumer research company Kantar revealed grocery price inflation hit a record 16.7% in the four weeks to 22 January, after a slight dip in the run up to Christmas.

It said this is the highest level since it started tracking the figure in 2008 and warned that households will face an extra £788 on their annual shopping bills “if they don’t change their behaviour or cut costs”.

However, Kantar noted that take-home grocery sales rose 5.7% during the period, and 7.6% over 12 weeks, but the data showed the effect of ‘Dry January’ as no and low alcohol beer volumes were up 3% on last year.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said competition at grocers “is as intense as it’s ever been”, as they boost own-label ranges with this sector growing 9.3% in January, “well ahead of branded alternatives which were up by just 1%”, he noted.

McKevitt, said: “Across the market the move is towards everyday low pricing, with many supermarkets offering price matching and using their loyalty schemes to help shoppers save. As a result of this push, the proportion of spending on promotions has fallen to its lowest level since at least 2008, exaggerating the usual post-Christmas drop off in deals.

“Sales of supermarket own-label ranges labelled as plant-based or vegan rose by 21%. Growth was largely driven by existing shoppers of the category rather than new converts, with 3.4 million consumers making a purchase this January which is slightly down on last year. Alongside the pull factor of events like Veganuary, the push element of new regulations on food and drink which is high in sugar, salt and fat could also be having an impact. £10 million less was spent on chocolate deals this January compared with last year, partially as a result of the new rules although we’re probably marking the wider impact of the drop in promotions too.”