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Cost of living bites hard into food budgets

New data published by the ONS today (May 30th) has revealed how the prices of 30 everyday grocery items, from pasta and bread to ketchup and yoghurt, have changed over the past year.

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Amid the cost of living crisis, it’s no surprise that a majority of the goods have increased in cost - with five items surging by a whopping 15% or more. However, in more surprising news, six food types have gone down in price since April 2021, including potatoes, cheese and sausages.

With prices varying across the board, and the cost of living crisis leaving millions of households financially stretched like never before, it’s important to shop smart by bagging bargains where you can - and avoiding those items that are surging in price. 

James Andrews, Senior Personal Finance Editor at money.co.uk, said: “Today’s data from the ONS reveals 24 out of 30 everyday grocery items studied have shot up in price over the past 12 months, which isn’t a surprise considering the ongoing cost of living crisis. 

“Here are the five food types that have increased the most drastically, and by how much: 

  • Pasta (+50%)

  • Crisps (+18%)

  • Bread (+17%)

  • Beef Mince (+16%)

  • Rice (+15%)

“Worryingly, many of the items surging fastest are those relied upon to make food budgets work for a large number of households.

“The cheapest 500g bag of pasta has gone from 36p in 2021, to 53p today, and that the cheapest 150g pack of crisps has increased by 12p - up to 83p.

“Elsewhere, 500g of mince has seen the greatest pence increase in total, up to £2.34 from £2.02, while an 800g loaf of bread is up 7p to 54p. 

“Surging prices don’t mean you have to avoid these items entirely, but it does mean that you need to be careful about when and where you buy them or you could see the cost of your food shop come in higher than expected. 

“Remember that supermarket own brand items are often similar in quality to big name brands, so it's well worth making a swap for the five main culprits in an attempt to offset the increase. 

“Alternatively, consider bulk buying or shopping at key times for yellow sticker items to keep costs low. 

“But not quite everything has risen in price - here are the five food types that have actually become cheaper in the past 12 months and by how much: 

  • Potatoes (-14%)

  • Chips (-7%) 

  • Pizza (-5%)

  • Cheese (-3%)

  • Sausages (-2%)

“Potatoes are at the top of the list, with a 2.5kg bag down 3p to 84p. Elsewhere, a 900g pack of chips is down by the same amount to £1.16, while a 300g pizza has gone from 99p to 95p. 

“That’s why, when it comes to doing your weekly shop, you should try to remain flexible with your ingredients to make the most of price cuts and any bargains or discounts you see. 

“For more tips and tricks on chopping the price of your weekly shop, check money.co.uk’s comprehensive guide here: https://www.money.co.uk/guides/10-ways-to-cut-the-cost-of-your-weekly-shop.”


About James Andrews

James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.

View James Andrews's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.