Fresh food prices soar as Christmas grocery spending hits new high

4 January 2023, 08:03 | Updated: 4 January 2023, 09:28

Fresh food inflation has hit record levels
Fresh food inflation has hit record levels. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Kit Heren

Fresh food prices leapt up by 15% in December compared to a year before, reaching the highest levels since records began in 2005.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The British Retail Consortium said that inflation on all food prices reached 13.3% in December, up from 12.4% in November.

It comes amid warnings that inflation shows "no immediate sign of waning", and Office for National Statistics researching suggesting families are struggling to afford healthy food.

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."

Food prices have been rising for months
Food prices have been rising for months. Picture: Getty

Fresh food inflation leapt to 15% for the month from 14.3% in November, while the price of ambient food, such as pasta and tinned food, increased 11% in December against the same month a year earlier.

However, 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.

Read more: 'No peak in sight' for food price rises with inflation spiking to record of nearly 15 per cent

Read more: British economy shrank more than previously thought this year, experts say - as recession looms

Ms 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."

Andrew Marr: 'Should the government give in and pay full inflation increases to key workers?'

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, which helped carry out the research, said that after the festive period, people were unlikely to be opening the purse-strings much more in the near future.

"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," he said.

Lewis Goodall discusses impact of inflation on pay

"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."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Breaking
Just Stop Oil protesters have targeted planes at a private airfield in Stansted - where Taylor Swift's jets are believed to have landed just hours before.

Just Stop Oil protesters target jets at private airfield just 'hours after Taylor Swift’s arrival' at site

Live
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (centre), meets staff during a visit to Morrisons in Wiltshire

General Election LIVE: Poll shows Starmer on top after LBC phone-ins as calls for election betting enquiry ramp up after alleged offences

Exclusive
Watch in full: LBC's exclusive phone-in interviews with Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak

Watch in full: LBC's exclusive phone-in interviews with Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak

Here's everything we know about missing teenager Jay Slater.

Everything we know about missing British teenager Jay Slater who vanished on holiday in Tenerife

William appeared at Ascot

Prince William shares tender moment with Kate's mother as she suffers mishap at Ascot

Jay Slater's family have warned people about donating to fake pages

'I just want my baby back': Mother of missing Brit Jay Slater, 19, issues plea after 'false sighting' delays search

Keir Starmer came out on top after LBC’s two exclusive phone-ins

Keir Starmer comes out on top after LBC phone-ins – as Rishi Sunak seen as ‘overwhelmingly negative’

OceanGate co-founder Guillermo Söhnlein is pictured with CEO Stockton Rush, who died on the Titan sub

Oceangate co-founder claims he can 'safely' send 1,000 people to Venus

Labour must ditch 'phoney fiscal rules' and borrow to invest in public services, says boss of UK's largest trade union

Labour must ditch 'phoney fiscal rules' and borrow to invest in public services, says boss of UK's largest trade union

Theo Paphitis speaks to LBC.

'They've lost the plot': Ex-Tory donor and Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis reveals why he's switched support to Labour

Exclusive
Sir David Ormand has criticised the Conservatives for suggesting Keir Starmer is a security risk

Former spy boss criticises 'disreputable' Tory suggestion that Putin and Xi would welcome Starmer as Prime Minister

Justin Timberlake was arrested on Tuesday

'We'll have a lot to say': Justin Timberlake's lawyer vows to 'vigorously defend' singer after DWI arrest

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday

Rishi Sunak set 'to become first PM to lose seat' in election wipeout with Conservatives down to just 53 MPs, poll finds

Starmer and Neville

Keir Starmer tells Gary Neville he needs to win British people's trust, as he warns turning UK around will take 10 years

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives for a visit to Great Wood Farm Early Years Centre, Grantham in East Midlands, June 17

Sunak close protection officer arrested over alleged election date bets

Allen Morgan, 73, said he was locked in a "passionate but forbidden" affair with his now wife Margaret, 75, when he hired a hitman to kill his then-partner Carol

Pensioner found guilty of conspiring to murder wife after hiring hitman amid 'passionate but forbidden' affair