Watch ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi's report as families brace for an expensive Christmas.
Food price inflation has hit a record 14.7%, adding a potential £682 to the annual cost of a household's grocery bill, a research firm has said.
It comes amid warnings prices could continue to rise even further - with 'no peak in sight.'
Just over a quarter of households (27%) say they are struggling financially – double the figure recorded last November, the research firm Kantar said.
One woman told ITV News she would not celebrate Christmas this December because she "can't afford to feed everybody".
A woman tells ITV News that Christmas will be too expensive for her to celebrate this year
"I've decided not to do Christmas, its too expensive this year. It's not something I do all the time really, but this year its not going to happen," she said.
Another said the prospect of the holidays was "terrifying" because of pricey train fares, Christmas presents and food.
Through its research, Kantar found the cheapest value ranges grew by 42% as shoppers sought to manage their budgets. Meanwhile, sales of supermarket own-label products jumped again by 10.3% over the latest four weeks.
Amid record inflation, the prospect of Christmas is 'terrifying', a woman tells ITV News
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “Yet again, we have a new record high figure for grocery price inflation and it’s too early right now to call the top.
“Consumers face a £682 jump in their annual grocery bill if they continue to buy the same items, and just over a quarter of all households now say they’re struggling financially, which is double the proportion we recorded last November.
“Nine in 10 of this group say higher food and drink prices are a major concern, second only to energy bills, so it’s clear just how much grocery inflation is hitting people’s wallets and adding to their domestic worries.”
Some consumers found light relief at Halloween, and just over one in 10 households bought a pumpkin in October, although sales were down compared with last year.
Fewer people stocked the cupboards for Christmas in October, preferring to wait until later in the year.
Mr McKevitt said: “This time last year two million consumers had already bought their festive Christmas pudding. We’ve seen 32% fewer shoppers doing that this time around, suggesting people are not trying to spread the cost of their purchasing – at least not in October.”
Aldi was the fastest growing retailer in the latest period, increasing its sales by 22.7% year on year to gain 9.2% market share, while Lidl boosted sales by 21.5% to take its market share to a new record of 7.2%.
Asda again led the traditional Big Four supermarkets with sales growing by 5.3% to maintain an overall market share of 14.3%.
Mr McKevitt said: “With economic forecasters warning of a potential recession, it’s worth reflecting on how much the grocery landscape has changed since the 2008 financial crash.
“We’ve seen a rise in the market share of the discounters Aldi and Lidl, which together now stands at 16.4%, versus 4.4% 14 years ago.”
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