UK food price inflation hit a new high of 13.3% in December as the price of basics such as pasta and tinned food shot up.
The price of food for shoppers increased by 13.3% in the year to December, up from 12.4% in the year to November, according to the latest BRC-NielsenIQ shop price index.
Fresh foods led the increase in prices – with inflation rising to 15% from 14.3% in November – with the British Retail Consortium trade body warning that the figure “is the highest inflation rate in the fresh food category on record.”
The price of ambient food, such as pasta and tinned food, increased 11% in December against the same month a year earlier.
Overall shop price inflation eased slightly to 7.3% for the month, pulling back marginally from 7.4% in November but remains close to record highs.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “It was a challenging Christmas for many households across the UK.
“Not only did the cold snap force people to spend more on their energy bills, but the prices of many essential foods also rose as reverberations from the war in Ukraine continued to keep high the cost of animal feed, fertiliser and energy.”
Still, non-food shops, such as fashion or homeware retailers, saw inflation slow to 4.4% in December from 4.8% a month earlier due to price cuts.
Dickinson added: “Non-food price rises eased as some retailers used discounting to shed excess stock built up during the disruptions to supply chains, meaning some customers were able to bag bargain gifts.
“The combined impact was that price increases overall plateaued, with the reduction in non-food inflation offsetting the higher food prices.”
Read more: UK’s cheapest supermarket revealed
Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said: “Consumer demand is likely to be weak in Q1 due to the impact of energy price increases and for many, Christmas spending bills starting to arrive.
“So the increase in food inflation is going to put further pressure on household budgets and it’s unlikely that there will be any improvement in the consumer mind-set around personal finances in the near term.
“With shoppers having less money to spend on discretionary retail, having paid for their essential groceries, there will be little to stimulate demand across the non-food channels.”