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Social Justice

What soaring inflation actually means for the cost of your weekly food shop

This is how much more your shopping basket costs now compared to 12 months ago.

Inflation has hit another 40-year-high, with the latest government data revealing it reached 9.4 per cent in June amid the cost of living crisis. But what does this actually mean for ordinary households and their weekly spending? 

We asked expert Nicole Sykes, of Pro Bono Economics, to explain the new statistics in simple terms. She said: “It means prices are going up. That is most significantly happening with electricity and gas prices and the food we are buying.

Inflation plays out differently across different goods, and the reason for that is because of how much energy has gone into making them. The cost of fertiliser is a big problem at the moment. We’re seeing quite a lot of pressure on dairy farmers. You’re seeing milk and butter go up by about 25 per cent over the last year. In dairy products, it’s quite significant.

“Pasta has been going up quite a lot because of the cost of wheat, and flour too. Fertiliser is really important for flour, but also Ukraine is a big exporter of wheat and grain.”

Sykes explained there are a number of other reasons for inflation – Brexit, the pandemic, labour shortages and supply chain issues are all contributing to the soaring costs. She does not believe that inflation will return to normal rates until mid-2024.

Grant Fitzner, the ONS chief economist, said: “Annual inflation again rose to stand at its highest rate for over 40 years. The increase was driven by rising fuel and food prices; these were only slightly offset by falling secondhand car prices.”

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Fuels had risen by more than 42 per cent in the year to June, with average prices for petrol standing at £1.84 per litre last month. Milk, cheese and eggs saw the biggest rises in price for food in June, while the cost of vegetables and meat were also up. 

Sykes says that it is difficult to quantify the percentages in cash terms. But supermarket comparison site Trolley.co.uk has a Grocery Price Index showing how much on average essential products have risen in cost month on month since last year. 

Trolley’s database monitors 43,852 products continuously, across all of the major supermarkets in the UK. We tried it out to find out how much our shopping basket would cost us this year in comparison to last year. 

The products are not broken down by size or weight, and of course, prices will also range hugely depending on where you shop and the number of people in your household, but this gives a sense of the real impact the cost of living crisis could have on ordinary households in the UK. 

How much has a weekly shop gone up in price compared to last year?

Our shopping list: Milk, eggs, butter, bread, coffee, tea bags, olive oil, chicken breast, beef, toilet rolls, laundry capsules, rice, pasta, cheese, potatoes, crisps, orange juice, toothpaste, cereal, carrots, onions, apples, wine.

How much would this cost now? £78.85.

How much would it have cost this time last year? £72.23. That’s an increase of £6.62 every week, or 8.4 per cent. If you did this shop every week for a whole year, you would be spending £344 more than you did last year.

Here’s how much each item on our shopping list costs now in comparison to last year, based on Trolley.co.uk data and the average prices across all major supermarkets in the UK. 

Milk: Now costs £1.66. It cost £1.33 in July 2021 (an increase of 33p or 24.8 per cent)

Cost of milk over the last year. Image: Trolley.co.uk

Eggs: Now cost £2.27. They cost £2.07 in July 2021 (an increase of 20p or 9.7 per cent)

Butter: Now costs £3.11. It cost £2.54 in July 2021 (an increase of 57p or 22.4 per cent) 

Bread: Now costs £1.25. It cost £1.12 in July 2021 (an increase of 13p or 11.6 per cent)

Cost of bread over the last year. Image: Trolley.co.uk

Coffee: Now costs £3.90. It cost £3.61 in July 2021 (an increase of 29p or 8 per cent)

Tea bags: Now cost £3.21. They cost £3.03 in July 2021 (an increase of 18p or 5.9 per cent)

Olive oil: Now costs £7.10. It cost £6.54 in July 2021 (an increase of 56p or 8.6 per cent)

Chicken breast: Now costs £4.78. It cost £4.24 in July 2021 (an increase of 54p or 12.7 per cent)

Cost of chicken breast over the last year. Image: Trolley.co.uk

Beef: Now costs £7.63. It cost £7.21 in July 2021 (an increase of 42p or 5.8 per cent)

Toilet rolls: Now cost £5.11. They cost £4.55 in July 2021 (an increase of 56p or 12.3 per cent)

Laundry capsules: Now cost £6.83. They cost £6.51 in July 2021 (an increase of 32p or 4.9 per cent)

Rice: Now costs £3.14. It cost £2.92 in July 2021 (an increase of 22p or 7.5 per cent)

Pasta: Now costs £2. It cost £1.74 in July 2021 (an increase of 26p or 14.9 per cent) 

Cheese: Now costs £2.78. It cost £2.41 in July 2021 (an increase of 37p or 15.4 per cent)

Cost of cheese over the last year. Image: Trolley.co.uk

Potatoes: Now cost £1.57. They cost £1.48 in July 2021 (an increase of 9p or 6.1 per cent)

Crisps: Now cost £1.67. They cost £1.57 in July 2021 (an increase of 10p or 6.4 per cent)

Orange juice: Now costs £2.24. It cost £2.05 in July 2021 (an increase of 19p or 9.3 per cent)

Toothpaste: Now costs £3.22. It cost £3.09 in July 2021 (an increase of 13p or 4.2 per cent)

Cereal: Now costs £3.52. It cost £2.63 in July 2021 (an increase of 11p or 4.4 per cent)

Carrots: Now cost 87p. They cost 82p in July 2021 (an increase of 5p or 6.1 per cent)

Onions: Now cost £1.03. They cost 99p in July 2021 (an increase of 4p or 4 per cent)

Apples: Now cost £1.66. They cost £1.54 in July 2021 (an increase of 12p or 7.8 per cent)

Wine: Now costs £8.30. It cost £8.24 in July 2021 (an increase of 6p or 0.7 per cent)

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Every copy counts this Winter

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Winter. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Winter.

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