Cost of a cup of tea jumps as food inflation hits record 11.6%

Food inflation is now at record levels, according to the British Retail Consortium - soaring to 11.6 per cent last month. ITV News' Ellie Pitt reports

The cost of making a cup of tea has soared amid record levels of food price inflation, figures show.

Basics such as tea bags, sugar and milk all increased as food inflation jumped from 10.6% last month to 11.6%, the British Retail Consortium said.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "With Christmas fast approaching, customers are looking for any sign of respite, but it is increasingly difficult for retailers to shoulder the ongoing supply chain pressures."

How much have some of the staples increased by? Tea bags: Last month, the ONS said that a 250g pack of tea bags cost £2.28 on average, an increase of 25p compared with last September. Milk: The average cost of a pint of milk rose to 62p, an increase of 19p from the same month last year.

Sugar: A kilogram of sugar cost 76p on average, which is 5p more than it was last September. Eggs: A carton of 12 eggs cost £1.80 on average, an increase of 5p compared with last September.

Bread: The average loaf of sliced, white bread cost £1.28, marking an 11p increase year-on-year.

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Overall shop prices are now 6.6% higher than they were this time last year – also a record – but food inflation jumped well above September’s 10.6% and the three-month average rate of 9.7%, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

Fresh food prices are now 13.3% more than last October, up from 12.1% in September.

Non-food inflation accelerated to 4.1%, up from 3.3% in September.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “It has been a difficult month for consumers who not only faced an increase in their energy bills, but also a more expensive shopping basket.

“Prices were pushed up because of the significant input cost pressures faced by retailers due to rising commodity and energy prices and a tight labour market.

Fresh food prices are now 13.3% more than last October, up from 12.1% in September.

“While some supply chain costs are beginning to fall, this is more than offset by the cost of energy, meaning a difficult time ahead for retailers and households alike.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said external factors are keeping shop price inflation at record highs.

“With pressure growing on discretionary spend across both non-food and food retail, delivering good value is the table stake in the battle for shopper loyalty over the next eight weeks,” he said.

Which? head of food policy Sue Davies said: “Soaring food prices are a real concern, and our research shows millions of consumers are already skipping meals or struggling to put healthy meals on the table due to the cost-of-living crisis. It is vital that households get the support they need from the government and businesses.

She also said supermarkets have a "crucial" role to play in helping their customers navigate the tough months ahead.

"Budget lines for healthy and affordable essential items need to be widely available across their stores and they should ensure shoppers can easily compare the price of products to get the best value. Promotions should be targeted at supporting those most in need,” Ms Davies suggested.