Industry data revealed on Tuesday that soaring food prices have driven annual inflation in British shops to its highest level in at least 18 years.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported that overall shop price inflation rose to 8.9 per cent in March, up from 8.4 per cent in February. This marks the biggest increase since the BRC began recording data in 2005.
The BRC’s food category saw a 15 per cent rise in prices compared to last year, which is consistent with official inflation data from last week that showed a rapid increase in food and drink prices.
BRC CEO Helen Dickinson warned that shop price inflation has not yet peaked and cited the rising cost of sugar as a major factor contributing to higher food prices in March.
Sugar prices have been affected by a decrease in production, increasing energy prices, and a ban on pesticides in Britain to protect bees.
Additionally, poor harvests in Europe and North Africa, along with a weakening pound, have led to higher prices for imported fruits and vegetables. The cold weather in growing areas has also resulted in a shortage of key salad staples like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers in British supermarkets.
Consumer price inflation, which includes non-shop goods like energy and services, unexpectedly rose to 10.4 per cent in February, reaching a 41-year high of 11.1 per cent in October.