Prices for cheapest pasta soar 50% as inflation sees cost of food staples increase by 6.7%

Kitchen cupboard staples are rocketing in price, ITV News' Chris Choi reports.

The price of the cheapest brands of pasta in UK supermarkets has soared by 50% in a year, as inflation continues to spiral and the prices of everyday items increase.

But it's not just pasta which has increased, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show many other staples have increased in price between April last year and April this year.

Figures show the price of crisps rose by 17%, bread and minced beef grew by 16% and rice prices rose by 15%.

However, not all items increased in price, some saw falls.

Potatoes are now, on average, 14% less, cheese 7% less, pizza 4%, chips 3%, sausages 3% and apples 1%.

The ONS tracked the changes in the price of 30 everyday items they know the least well-off households regularly buy to get an idea of how inflation is hitting these households.

It is the first time data has been collected in this way and comes after food campaigner Jack Monroe criticised the way that the rate of inflation is calculated - which measures the prices of 700 goods, including items such as Champagne - stating that it "grossly" underestimates "the true cost of living crisis" and price rises hit the poorest hardest.The ONS acknowledged the research it has done is “highly experimental” - the analysis only focuses on the lowest-priced goods the estimates are based on a very small number of price quotes. This means the data is very sensitive to changes in just one item.

How much have some of the staples increased by?

  • Beef mince - 500g - April 2021 average cost = £2.02 | April 2022 average cost = £2.34, an increase of 32p (16%)

  • Chicken breast - 600g - April 2021 average cost = £3.22 | April 2022 average cost = £3.50, an increase of 28p (8%)

  • Pasta - 500g - April 2021 average cost = 36p | April 2022 average cost = 53p, an increase of 17p (50%)

  • Vegetable oil - 1 litre - April 2021 average cost = £1.64 | April 2022 average cost = £1.78, an increase of 14p (8%)

  • Crisps - 150g - April 2021 average cost = 71p | April 2022 average cost = 83p, an increase of 12p (17%)

  • Rice - 1kg - April 2021 average cost = 80p | April 2022 average cost = 92p, an increase of 12 (15%)

  • Mixed frozen vegetables - 1kg - April 2021 average cost = 78p | April 2022 average cost = 89p, an increase of 11p (14%)

How much have some of the staples decreased by?

  • Potatoes - 2.5kg - April 2021 average cost = 87p | April 2022 average cost = 75p, a decrease of 12p (-14%)

  • Cheese - 225g - April 2021 average cost = 95p | April 2022 average cost = 88p, a decrease of 7p (-7%)

  • Pizza - 300g - April 2021 average cost = 99p | April 2022 average cost = 95p, a decrease of 4p (-4%)

  • Sausages - 454g - April 2021 average cost = 87p | April 2022 average cost = 84p, a decrease of 3p (-3%)

  • Chips - 900g - April 2021 average cost = £1.19 | April 2022 average cost = £1.16, a decrease of 3p (-3%)

  • Apples - six pack - April 2021 average cost = 96p | April 2022 average cost = 94p, a decrease of 2p (-1%)

The full list of items and their changes in price can be found here.

Credit: PA graphics

While the rate of inflation on the whole is 9% - driven largely by soaring energy costs - the price of the 30 basic items overall has increased 6.7% in a year.

In order to calculate this figure, statisticians from the ONS developed algorithms to select the cheapest possible alternatives on the websites of Asda, the Co-op, Iceland, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, and tracked the prices over the year.

Despite Aldi and Lidl being among the cheapest supermarkets in the country they were not included as they do not allow customers to shop online.

It comes as experts recently warned the poorest households in the country are bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis.

While inflation hit a 40-year high of 9% in April as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, those who are least well off spend a larger proportion of their income on the basics, such as energy bills.

As a result the Institute for Fiscal Studies has suggested that inflation for the poorest households ran at 10.9% in the year to April.

Single mum Joanna Barker-Marsh told ITV News that increasing food prices mean she now has to shop around for everyday items and has to sacrifice buying things like coffee.

"Places that have been traditionally the friend of a person on a low income are struggling to maintain low prices across the board," she said.

"It's depressing, it feels like there's no recovery. It just feels like you're constantly having an internal discussion about whether or not you can buy that thing."

She continued she was "sick of people telling me... we should be surviving on a 70p bag of pasta of a £1 bag of oats.

"I'm really fed up of that rhetoric from people that really have no idea how hard it is to keep managing the expectations of your young child and also to keep yourself going."

The latest ONS analysis indicates that, at least for the 30 items it chose, inflation for the cheapest alternatives has been running similar to overall food and alcohol prices, increasing by between 6% and 7%.

It does not, however, take into account the costs associated with buying a product. For instance potato prices have dropped significantly over the last year, but many struggling households avoid potatoes, because they take longer to boil than alternatives and therefore use more expensive gas.

In March the boss of Iceland said some food bank users were turning down potatoes and other root vegetables because they could not afford to boil them.

Speaking to ITV News Food campaigner Jack Monroe said that the latest findings from the ONS will come as "no surprise" to people on the lowest incomes.

"For anybody living this life or has lived this life, we're well aware that the prices of basic food products in the value ranges have been jumping astronomically over the last few years, but in the last year especially.

"Who it will come as a surprise to is people like MPs who are in a position to make the decisions around things like the up-rating of benefits to make life easier for people who are experiencing these price rises, so hopefully now that the data is out there and it's official that it is more expensive to be poor then people will be able to take some action about that."

Monroe added that they "speak to people every single day who are skipping meals on a regular basis because their income doesn't cover costing all of their bills plus the cost of food".

They added that "the rise in the number of people who are needing food banks to feed themselves and their families is absolutely soaring".

The budget cookery book writer added that if you are referred to a food bank or want to request access to one "there's no shame in that".

"It took me several goes back when I was a single mum and I was struggling to feed myself," they recounted.

"It took a very persistent children's centre worker six attempts to get a food bank voucher into my hands because I was so embarrassed. I insisted I was OK but that misplaced sense of shame... there's no shame in needing a little bit of help."

The ONS acknowledged the research it has done is “highly experimental” - the analysis only focuses on the lowest-priced goods the estimates are based on a very small number of price quotes. This means the data is very sensitive to changes in just one item.

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It also does not mitigate the concerns of food campaigner Jack Monroe who has criticised supermarkets for allegedly limiting access to their cheapest products in store.

“The available products represent the retailer’s online catalogue, rather than the range of products available or bought in local stores that month,” the ONS said.