IInflation is rampant and supermarket prices are no exception. Shoppers are returning to stores to find old favorites have jumped in price week on week. The cost of consumer goods is skyrocketing at such a rate that retail analysts have coined a new term, shelf shock.
Nestlé, owner of KitKat, Häagen-Dazs and Felix cat foods, became the latest consumer goods group to warn of more pain on Thursday, saying it had raised prices by 5.2% in the first three months of this year and that rising production costs would force another increase soon.
Retailers and manufacturers pass on increases in energy and fuel bills, packaging and raw materials to shoppers.
Overall, the cost of a basket of basic goods in the UK has risen by more than 11% compared to last March, according to a study by market analysts Assosia. Basic pasta, milk and instant coffee all saw double-digit increases.
When we asked our readers where inflation was hitting them, they came up with a long list of items.
The price of a box of Sainsbury’s own brand dog food has risen from 40p to 70p. One reader said the 75% increase meant the cost of feeding her pet had soared to over £250 a year. “It’s just a small item, but everything in my basket seems to have grown at the same rate, and salaries have stagnated,” she said.
The average price of a standard box of supermarket-branded dog food has risen by almost 42% over the past year to an average of 63 cents, according to analysis by research firm Assosia for the Guardian .
The price of tin, used for packaging, has tripled in the past two years, while soaring energy and transport costs and rising meat prices drive up the cost of food for pets.
Coffee Ready to Eat
Pret’s filter coffee rose to £1.40 a cup in February after an earlier increase of £1.25 in May 2021 from just 99p. The 41.4% increase in less than a year is due to a combination of factors, ranging from ingredients to staffing and energy bills.
The wholesale price of Arabica beans jumped 70% last year, Rabobank analysts say, after one of the biggest producers, Brazil, suffered a mix of droughts and the worst frost for more than two decades. Global shipping costs also drove up the price while Pret’s staff bill rose, partly due to Brexit.
The owner of Lucozade changed the size of all his 1 liter bottles to 900ml last year, saying he did this to keep the bottle price at £1 ‘because we know that’s a important price for our customers”.
But at the end of last year the price of these smaller bottles rose, so most retailers are now selling them at £1.25, a 38% increase in cost per ml on it a year ago.
The prices of Lucozade and many other soft drinks have risen as the cost of packaging, transport and raw materials has risen sharply. Food grade CO2, the gas that makes the bubbles, has more than tripled in price as it is tightly tied to fertilizer production, which is under pressure from rising energy costs. The price of producing plastic bottles, meanwhile, has jumped about 15% in the past six months alone, according to industry insiders.
This is the critical moment for peanuts with inflation creeping in. In October last year it emerged that a bag of KP Peanuts had shrunk to 225g, replacing 250g for £2.50. Now that same bag costs £2.65 in major supermarkets, a price hike of 17% per gram in less than a year.
Assosia found that own-brand dry-roasted peanuts had not changed in price over the past year. However, industry insiders said salty snacks in general have faced inflation due to rising prices for cooking oil, packaging and energy. The war in Ukraine has added to these pressures.
The price of an Always Ultra sanitary napkin has increased by just over 7.5% in recent weeks. But you might not have noticed: the packs have remained at the same price – on average £1.63 in major supermarkets according to Assosia – but now contain 13 tampons and not 14.
Tesco, Bodyform and Sainsbury’s have also marked up sanitary napkins in recent weeks, according to trade newspaper Grocer, amid rising energy and fuel costs. The newspaper said Tesco had doubled the price of its cheapest Essentials towels to 4p each.
The charity Freedom4Girls said the problem meant some women had to choose between feeding their families or buying sanitary products and there had been cases of women taking time off work because they could not afford the items they needed to manage their periods.
Toilet paper rolls
One reader said the price of a roll of Tesco toilet paper hadn’t changed, but the rolls seemed to have come down significantly – possibly by half.
The average price of a nine-roll pack of own-brand toilet paper in a UK supermarket has risen by almost 1% over the past year, according to analysis by Assosia.
However, Tesco has apparently found a new way to roll its toilet paper more tightly on cardboard tubes, reducing the size of its large multipacks – without changing the number of sheets on a roll. It says the innovation will save 67 tonnes of plastic packaging each year and reduce the number of trucks needed for transport.