Supermarkets cut prices to tackle cost of living - but what's been reduced?

North of England Correspondent Hannah Miller reports on the ongoing cost of living crisis

Nine in ten Brits have reported a rise in their cost of living and as the crisis grips the country some supermarkets have announced plans to help the poorest get the food they need.

On Monday the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed 87% of adults in Great Britain reported they have seen a rise in their cost of living, compared with 62% in November 2021.They also found nearly a quarter of adults said it was difficult to pay their household bills.

Many businesses have been forced to raise their prices in recent months as inflation increases their production costs, but on Monday several supermarkets revealed plans to reduce the prices of some of their core products.

What's been announced?

Asda unveiled a plan to reduce the price of more than 100 popular items, including tea bags, rice and cheddar cheese, for the year as part of the measures on Monday.

The moves come a week after the company said it will axe its Smart Price range and replace it with new Just Essentials by Asda products, which it said comprises a broader range of products.

The price of basics like rice have risen in the past few months. Credit: PA

Asda said its own research found that nine in ten consumers are concerned about inflationary pressures to their budgets, while the disposable incomes of customers dived.

It said products covered by the “dropped and locked” price pledge will see an average reduction of 12%, including a 25% drop in the price of a bag of Asda easy cook rice to 75p.

Mohsin Issa, co-owner of Asda, said: “We know that household budgets are being squeezed by an increasing cost of living and we are committed to doing everything we can to support our customers, colleagues and communities in these exceptionally tough times."Also on Monday Morrisons announced a similar move.

The UK’s fourth-largest supermarket said it has lowered the cost of more than 500 products – including refrigerated, frozen and store cupboard food, meat and cereal – accounting for around 6% of its total volume of sales.

A 30-pack of own-brand eggs will sell for £2.99 instead of the previous £3.40, while a pack of paracetamol will cost 29p, down from 65p.

Shoppers can also buy a 430g pack of Morrisons British diced beef for £3.59 rather than £3.99, and a 33-pack of Nutmeg-brand nappies for £1.29, down from £1.40.

Morrisons chief executive, David Potts, said: "We know that our customers are under real financial pressure at the moment and we want to play our part in helping them when it comes to the cost of grocery shopping."

Although many will welcome the move to cut prices by Morrisons and Asda, it makes financial sense for both the supermarkets.

The chains are seen as being on the bottom end of the price range of the big four supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Asda) and have been hit hard by customers either reducing spending or going to Aldi and Lidl instead.

Asda has seen its sales drop by 11.5% in the past three years.

So far, Tesco and Sainsbury's have not announced any price cuts.How much has the price of food gone up?

The price of food has increased by 5.2% since last year, according to data analytics company Kantar.

Inflation is currently around 7% the highest it's been in decades.But this stat masks the steep variation in price rises, with some basic goods barely moving at all and some increasing sharply.

The price of lamb has risen by almost 17% in a year. Credit: PA

Recent data showed cooking oil was one of a range of food staples to have its price shoot up.

The price of cooking oils and fats is nearly 25% more expensive than it was last April.

This is partly due to the war in Ukraine, as Ukraine is the world's largest exporter of sunflower oil.

According to the ONS, pasta has gone up 10% between March 2021 and March 2022, lamb is up 16.9%, beef is up 8.6% poultry is up 7.3%, cheese and eggs are up 8.6% and butter is up 9.6%.

Fruit is up 5.4%, while vegetables and potatoes are up 4.8% - but this is down by 1.2% from December last year.

Rice is below the average at 3.9% but prices are actually lower than they were in 2020.

Earlier this year, food poverty campaigner Jack Monroe noted many supermarket value brands had seen giant price increases, but due to their already low cost, many had not noticed.

She pointed out a kilogram of rice in Asda cost 45p last year, but jumped to £1 for 500g in 2022 – a price increase of 344%In response to this Asda announced it would be reverting some it the price increases and the ONS would be changing how it measures inflation.