In light of the recent surge in energy costs, we are confronted with an imminent crisis of escalating food prices.

A think tank has warned that rising food prices are creating a crisis similar to last year’s high energy bills crisis.


The issue of cost-of-living is multifaceted, and many individuals require assistance to make ends meet. One of the most significant concerns is the rising cost of food, further compounded by increased energy expenses. This poses a challenge for those on tight budgets as they need help to allocate finances for necessities and energy bills. Recent research conducted by the Resolution Foundation highlights this problem. While energy prices are expected to decrease over the coming months, inflation will likely continue to increase. According to the BRC-NielsenIQ store pricing index released this week, food prices surged by a record-breaking 15.7% in April.


In March, 16% (or 1.7 million) of people from the lowest income quintile went without meals for seven or more days, compared to only 8% of the population. Furthermore, 500,000 low-income individuals accessed food or warmth banks within the past four weeks, according to the research centre. According to a second study conducted by Carnegie UK, based on a YouGov poll of 2,366 individuals, one-third of adults have had to compromise on their dietary health due to the cost-of-living issue, while a similar percentage says they spend less time with friends and family.


Home finance pressure mounts as food inflation rises to another record


Food prices rose 15.7% annually last month as budgetary pressures mounted. In April, the cost of ambient items, such as tinned foods and other pantry staples, increased by 12.9% year-over-year, while fresh food prices increased by a record 17.7%. The most recent data indicate that, for the first time in more than 45 years, the average cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages in the United Kingdom has increased substantially.

According to the BRC-NielsenIQ store pricing index, retail prices increased 8.8% last month compared to the same month the year prior. This number decreased marginally from 8.9% in March due to spring sales at apparel and furniture stores. April non-food establishment inflation was 5.5%, down from 5.9% in March, as businesses lowered prices to attract customers. Helen Dickinson of the British Retail Consortium stated, “Overall store price inflation slowed in April due to heavy spring discounts on apparel, footwear, and furniture.”Due to persistent cost pressures throughout the supply chain, food prices remained high.”The cost of ready-to-eat meals has increased due to rising manufacturing and packaging expenses. Similarly, the coffee price has increased due to the high cost of coffee beans and a decrease in exports by major producing countries.

Mike Watkins, who oversees retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said that more retailers have recently used loyalty programs and promotions to boost sales.

It is difficult to anticipate the level of consumer confidence given that inflation has yet to peak and sales volumes across several channels are dropping. According to recent research by the nonprofit Trussell Trust, food banks delivered a record number of emergency food shipments in the year before March as more people battled to pay their bills and food costs.


What is causing the rise in food prices in the UK?


What are the primary causes of inflation since the average cost of food and nonalcoholic beverages in the United Kingdom has risen over the past 45 years? Food and non-alcoholic drinks price increase drive record-high inflation in the United Kingdom, straining family finances. From March of last year to March of this year, the average cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 19.2% due to higher prices for bread, cereal, and confectionery.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that this 12-month growth has been the most pronounced since August 1977. According to separate statistics from Which?, the prices of meat, yoghurt, and vegetables quadrupled between March of the previous year and March of the current year.

Here are some of the primary reasons for food prices rise.


Poor produce


Due to poor harvests in Europe and North Africa earlier this year, food prices have increased, particularly for fruits, vegetables, and sugar. Tomatoes, peppers, and salads have been in short supply, resulting in increased wholesale and retail prices. Dr Peter Alexander, senior lecturer in global food security at the University of Edinburgh, asserts that extreme weather events are becoming “more frequent and extreme” due to climate change. He adds, “Overall, this has stifled agricultural productivity increases and may have contributed to increased market price volatility and higher prices.”A pandemic of avian influenza in late 2018 compelled poultry confinement from November through April, resulting in one billion fewer eggs produced than in 2019. Government restrictions have been eliminated, but the repercussions continue to be felt. The latest in cost-of-living news: a supermarket announces price reductions, and pensioners have days to claim £301 in benefits.


Conflict in Ukraine


Minette Batters, president of the National Farmer’s Union (NFU), has described Ukraine as a “game changer” for food supply networks. The disruption caused by Russia’s invasion in February last year has forced Europe to reduce its reliance on Russian gas, resulting in increased costs for producing and transporting food. Consequently, consumers have had to bear the burden of rising prices. The NFU asserts that producer costs have increased by 50 per cent. Between March 2022 and January 2023, 34.3% of global food and beverage producers experienced supply chain disruptions. Ukraine is known as the “breadbasket of Europe,” but its inability to produce and export grain has reduced Europe’s cereal supply and raised prices.




According to the Food and Drink Federation, Brexit “made the situation more challenging for UK manufacturers” and significantly increased prices for the average UK household. According to the NFU president, the United Kingdom was the “preferred country to work in” for seasonal workers while it was a member of the European Union. Since our exit from the EU and the end of freedom of movement, the dearth of EU employees has become a “huge, huge issue.”As a result of the increased cost of living in the United Kingdom, the government is devising visa programs with shorter validity periods than in the past. Ms Batters continues by stating that, due to labour shortages, unpicked fruits and vegetables lost £16 million last year. Moreover, the demand for these positions in the food supply channels exceeds the number of unemployed individuals in the United Kingdom who could occupy them. Brexit-related packaging concerns, trade agreements with non-EU nations, and border restrictions have all impacted the supply chain.



Rising Food Prices Trigger Cost-of-Living Crisis Comparable to High Energy Bills: Report


According to a recent report by a think tank, the surge in food prices has created a crisis similar to last year’s energy bill crisis. The primary reasons behind the increase in food prices are poor harvests, the conflict in Ukraine, and Brexit. The Resolution Foundation noted that food prices are now comparable to energy bills in terms of how people experience the cost-of-living crisis. While inflation and energy bills are expected to decrease over the next few months, the rise in food prices is continuing at an escalating rate.


Recent data from the BRC-NielsenIQ shop price index released this week reveals that food prices increased significantly by 15.7% in April, marking the highest increase on record. Over the past year, the average cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 19.2% due to higher prices for bread, cereal, and confectionery. A survey conducted by the Resolution Foundation highlighted the impact of rising food prices on lower-income individuals, with 16% of adults in the bottom income quintile (equivalent to 1.7 million individuals) experiencing food insecurity in March. As a result of increasing prices, they either reduced their food intake or skipped meals altogether. Additionally, half a million lower-income people reported using food banks or relying on government-provided rations within the past four weeks.

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