More than half of all adults in the UK have reduced their food and drink purchases, and soaring costs are hitting the most vulnerable hardest.
61% of people said they bought less food in the last month, compared to 44% in the most disadvantaged areas and 51% across the UK.
Nearly a quarter of respondents questioned on the Food Standards Agency’s Consumer Insights Tracker said they skipped or cut back on meals because they couldn’t afford to buy supplies. November 2022 is his biggest increase since September 1977, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Staple foods such as bread and cereals saw the biggest price increases, rising 1.9% last month alone, contributing to a 16.6% annual increase.
In other words, low-income households, whose budgets consist mostly of staple foods, had inflation of 10.5%, while high-income households had inflation of 9.1%.
Campaigners and analysts have suggested that supermarkets are raising prices faster than more luxury goods within the discounted price range, putting pressure on those who need to save.
Food writer and activist Jack Monroe was one of the first to point out that the price of cheap food is skyrocketing, reducing it on supermarket shelves and leading to increased hunger and poverty. Her campaign prompted Asda to introduce a broader budget range.
A study released this week tracked the cost of about 19,000 items daily in UK supermarkets from July to December and found that items originally priced at less than 75 pence accelerated the fastest by 16%. By contrast, goods priced between £1.50 and £5 in July were up just under 4%, while those above £5 were down nearly 4%.
Items checked by price tracking agency Skuuudle include many supermarket value range products such as biscuits, chocolates, snacks, oils, rice, pasta, cans and food packets.
A spokesperson for Skuuudle said the difference was “for low-income people who may not benefit at all from lower prices on more expensive goods, while the prices of many valuable goods have increased. The shift is likely driven by a decline in demand for more expensive products as more people turn to value products amid the cost of living crisis.”
Concerns that rising inflation is disproportionately affecting people from poor households in the UK have led the government’s numbers calculator to provide a more detailed breakdown of the cost of living from this year.
In October, the ONS reported that overall prices for budget food in supermarkets had risen 17% in the year to the end of September. This was almost double the 9% annualized increase measured in the 12 months to April.