Grocery inflation hits 13-year high

by | May 24, 2022

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Grocery inflation hit its highest level in 13 years in May, industry research showed on Tuesday, as the cost of living crisis continued to mount.
According to retail consultancy Kantar, like-for-like grocery inflation was 7% in the past four weeks, the highest since May 2009. In the 12 weeks to 15 May, grocery inflation was 5.7%, with prices rising fastest in dog food, savoury snacks and beef, and falling in spirits.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “People are really feeling the squeeze at the supermarket tills and they’re having to stretch their budgets further to accommodate rising prices.

“Understandably, only a third of consumers now think of themselves of being in a comfortable financial position.”

UK consumers are facing a cost of living crisis, with inflation at a 40-year-high of 9% and energy bills rising 54% in April. National Insurance contributions also went up. According to a recent survey carried out by Kantar, 43% of households described themselves as ‘managing’ and 22% said they were ‘struggling’.

Of those struggling, over nine in ten said rising food prices was the second most important issue after energy bills.

Supermarket sales fell 4.4% year-on-year in the 12 weeks to 15 May, Kantar said. But in the last month the rate of decline slowed, with sales off just 1.7% as shoppers started to stock up ahead of the long Platinum Jubilee weekend.

McKevitt said there had been a 10% jump in supermarket sales in the week leading up to the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and a similar uptick was expected this year. “We should never underestimate the appetite for a party, especially a royal one,” he added.

Among individual retails, discounters Aldi and Lidl were the only grocers to report a rise in sales. Lidl reported a 6% uplift in the 12 weeks to 15 May, while Aldi saw a 5.8% increase.

They now have market shares of 6.9% and 9.0% respectively, both fresh highs.

Elsewhere, and sales eased 3.1% at Tesco, the UK’s largest grocer, although its market share nudged 0.4% higher to 27.4%. It is the seventeenth consecutive month that Tesco has seen its market share improve.

Sales fell 6.7% at J Sainsbury, 8.7% at Asda and 9.5% at Wm Morrison. Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership, saw sales decline 8.9% while Ocado recorded an 8% fall.

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