UK inflation: ‘Worryingly high’ food prices due to rising sugar and milk prices


The UK’s food price inflation has hit its highest level in eight years, according to a new report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The report, which is based on prices gathered from several major retailers, showed that food prices were 3.8 per cent higher in March than a year earlier.

This rise in prices is being driven by soaring prices for certain key items. Sugar prices have increased 6.1 per cent compared with the same period a year ago; milk prices are up 7.5 per cent, while butter prices have leapt 13.2 per cent.

The increases are the latest sign of a growing crisis in the food industry in the UK. A combination of factors, such as rising costs, the devaluation of sterling against the dollar and a decrease in global crop production due to climate change, has led to an increase in prices on multiple products.

The ONS report highlighted the fact that the highest percentage increases were seen in “non-discretionary” food items – those which are considered essential items for households to purchase. This reflects the fact that it is the least well-off who are being hit hardest by food inflation.

Industry experts have raised concerns about the impact this is having on households. Richard Smith, Chief Executive of the Real Bread Campaign, said the figures “confirm the worrying impression that food prices are soaring”. He added that while some of the increase is due to external factors, there is also the issue of “groceries being priced above the level dictated by inflation”.

The UK government has pledged to tackle food inflation and has announced measures such as extending its sugar tax to include milk-based drinks, and introducing a new levy on manufacturers of foods high in salt and sugar. It is also investing in measures designed to boost crop production and to promote more sustainable farming practices.

However, some fear that these measures may not be enough to combat the growing problem of food inflation in the UK. With food prices continuing to climb, many more households are likely to find themselves struggling to afford enough to eat.