Grocery prices surge at fastest pace for 13 years as cost of living soars

Research found 22% of households are struggling to make ends meet, with the rising price of the weekly shop a concern for more than nine in 10 of these people. Credit: PA

The price of groceries has increased at its fastest rate for 13 years, with nearly a quarter of households struggling to make ends meet, according to new figures.

Researchers at Kantar revealed that grocery price inflation reached 7% over the past four weeks to mark the highest level since May 2009.

Dog food, savoury snacks and fresh meat saw particularly sharp price rises, although spirit prices slipped for the month, the research revealed.

The cost-of-living is being driven higher by Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, which has led to higher fuel prices, leaving families struggling to meet soaring energy bills.

The record energy prices have been reflected in the cost of goods across the board, with the Office for National Statistics confirming last week that inflation had hit a 40-year-high of 9% last month.

“People are really feeling the squeeze at the supermarket tills and they’re having to stretch their budgets further to accommodate rising prices," Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said.

“To put the most recent numbers into context, if you were picking up supplies for a family fry-up over the long weekend with toast, eggs, sausages, bacon and beans it would cost you £6.83 – that’s a significant 40p increase on last year.”

The survey also found that 22% of households are “struggling” to make ends meet, with the rising price of the weekly shop a concern for more than nine in 10 of these people.

Kantar said the cost of supplies for a family fry-up is up on last year. Credit: PA

The latest figures showed supermarket sales were down by 4.4% over the 12 weeks to May 15.

It reflected a softer decline than previous periods, with sales over the last four weeks only down 1.7%.

The research firm said it represented the strongest month since Christmas, with signs that UK households are spending money ahead of the Platinum Jubilee weekend, according to Mr McKevitt.

“With a four-day bank holiday weekend on the horizon, we’re expecting people to celebrate with friends and family," he said.

“Looking back at the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, we saw a 10% boost in supermarket sales during the week leading up to the festivities.

“We should never underestimate the appetite for a party, especially a royal one.

“Summer refreshments back then were top of the shopping list and both alcohol and soft drink sales shot up.”

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Lidl and Aldi were the strongest performing retailers for the period as shoppers turned to the discounters amid pressure on their finances.

Lidl sales increased by 6.0% in the 12 weeks to May 15, marginally ahead of Aldi which increased sales by 5.8%.

The government is under increasing pressure to provide support for struggling families as the cost-of-living crisis deepens.

Boris Johnson said on Monday that people "just have to wait a little bit longer," for news of what the government would be doing to help.