Hundreds of basic grocery items cost 20% more than in 2020, study finds

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The cost of more than 200 grocery items has risen more than 20% in the past two years, according to a new study.

The prices of 265 products rose by at least a fifth over the same period as the availability of supermarket discounts and budget ranges fell, according to research by Which?.

The research analyzed more than 21,000 grocery items, comparing their average prices at eight major supermarkets from December 2021 to February 2022 with the same period two years prior.

The watchdog found that the cost of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes cereal (500g) at Tesco and a pack of Asda-branded Closed Cup mushrooms (250g) had both risen by 21.4%.

Additionally, Cathedral City extra-mature cheddar, 350g, rose 21.1% at Ocado.

A substantial increase was also seen in soft drinks, the cost of which increased by an average of 5.9%, and in butters and spreads, which increased by 4.9%.

The price of energy drinks increased by 4.8% and that of milk by 4.6%.

The food products least affected by inflation are chocolate (1.4%), fresh fruit (1.6%), biscuits (1.8%) and vegetables (1.9%).

Who? found that there were fewer discounts in different supermarkets, as well as limited availability of own brand budget ranges.

The number of special promotions fell in all 20 grocery categories surveyed by the watchdog.

The biggest drop was seen in discounts on bottled water, down 14.7%, and vegetables, down 11%.

Who? also observed that some products have decreased in size. The phenomenon, known as “shrinkflation”, sees brands downsize their products while maintaining the original price.

For example, Nescafe Azera Americano decaffeinated instant coffee is going from 100g to 90g and Walkers Classic Variety crisps are going from 24 bags in a multipack to 22 bags.

While many supermarkets’ own-label budget ranges have seen the lowest levels of inflation, at an average of just 0.2%, the study found that these ranges have become less available.

According to the study, low-budget private label items were unavailable three times as many days in the last three-month period as they were two years earlier.

Sue Davies, which one? head of food policy and consumer rights, commented: “Our research reveals that skyrocketing prices are exacerbated by practices such as contraction and limited availability of the most important budget ranges – and these factors combine to put enormous pressure on household purchasing budgets. .

“During an unrelenting cost of living crisis, consumers should be able to easily choose the product that’s right for them without worrying about price drops or local store budget limitations.”

A Tesco spokesman said: ‘We are committed to delivering great value to our customers, whether that means offering ‘everyday low prices’ on 1,600 basic products, price matching of around 650 basic products at Aldi prices or to offer exclusive offers and rewards through thousands of Clubcard prices. ”

British Retail Consortium food and sustainability director Andrew Opie said: “Rising inflation is an ongoing concern for consumers and retailers. The world price of many food products has reached record highs in recent months, driving up prices for consumers.

“Other price pressures include rising energy, transport and labor costs, all of which are exacerbated by the situation in Ukraine.

“Retailers will continue to do everything possible to keep prices low and deliver value to their customers by limiting price increases and expanding their value ranges.”

Additional reports per AP

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