Grocery price inflation in biggest drop since March peak, but remains "incredibly high"

Food price inflation remains high at 14.9 per cent, but Kantar said the figure is continuing to fall.
Food price inflation remains high at 14.9 per cent, but Kantar said the figure is continuing to fall.

GROCERY price inflation has seen the biggest drop since its peak in March but remains "incredibly high", figures show.

Supermarket promotions helped the UK figure fall to 14.9 per cent in the four weeks to July 9, down from 16.5 per cent over the previous month, according to analysts Kantar.

It is the fourth month in a row that inflation has fallen from its peak of 17.5 per cent in March.

The latest drop comes as supermarkets ramp up promotions, with spending on them up for the first time in two years, accounting for 25.2 per cent of the market.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: "This will be good news for many households although, of course, the rate is still incredibly high.

"One of the biggest shifts we've seen in this area is retailers ramping up loyalty card deals like Tesco's Clubcard Prices and Sainsbury's Nectar Prices.

"This could signal a change in focus by the grocers who had been concentrating their efforts on everyday low pricing, particularly by offering more value own-label lines.

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"The boost to promotional spending has contributed to bringing inflation down but this isn't all that's driving the change. Prices were rising quickly last summer so this latest slowdown is partially down to current figures being compared with those higher rates one year ago."

Households would have spent £683 more on their annual grocery bill to buy the same items as they did a year previously under the current level of inflation but have adapted their habits to limit the increase.

Mr McKevitt said: "It's clear that shoppers have dramatically changed their behaviour to combat inflation, whether by trading down to cheaper products or visiting different grocers.

"The average annual increase to household spending over the past 12 months has actually been £330 - well below the hypothetical £683."

Wimbledon contributed to spending on strawberries and fresh cream rising by 16 per cent and 13 per cent respectively compared with last year, and shoppers will have been relieved to see the average price for a pack of strawberries up by just 1p on last summer.

June's barbecue weather saw volume sales of chilled burgers up 7 per cent and chilled dips by 5 per cent.

Hayfever remedies grew by 16 per cent over the past month as people dealt with seasonal allergies.

Sainsbury's sales grew by 10.7 per cent, edging out Asda and Tesco at 10.5 per cent and 10.2 per cent respectively.