LONDON (Reuters) – Prices of Britain’s cheapest brands of pasta and bread have risen over the past year, but overall the cost of basic, low-priced food and drink has risen. rose at a similar pace to average prices, the Office for National Statistics said.
Anti-poverty campaigners have pointed to steep price rises in the cheapest categories of many staple foods, and surveys have shown growing numbers of Britons are skipping meals as they are squeezed by higher price inflation for consumption in 40 years.
Last week, the UK government announced £15 billion in grants to households to pay rising energy bills, on top of the £22 billion in support earlier this year.
The price of the cheapest 500 gram (17.6 oz) packet of pasta in a UK supermarket last month was 53 pence ($0.67), a 50% increase from 36 pence a year earlier early, while the price of an 800 gram loaf rose 16% to 54 pence.
In terms of cash, the biggest increase is in the cost of 500 grams of ground beef, which rose by 32 pence to 2.34 pounds, an increase of 16%.
However, average prices for the cheapest food and drink brands across 30 core product categories increased by 6-7%, the ONS said, as with all food and drink.
“There is considerable variation between the 30 items, with the prices of six items falling over the year, but the prices of five items increasing by 15% or more,” the ONS said.
The cost of potatoes fell 14%, cheese prices fell 7% and pizza cost 4% less than a year ago.
The ONS described its analysis as “highly experimental” and said the results were sensitive to the exact goods chosen from particular categories.
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey warned this month that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could have further ‘doomsday’ consequences for food prices, particularly for countries in development.
Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of grain, vegetable oil and other foodstuffs.
(This story refers to the dropped word in the last paragraph)
(Reporting by David Milliken, graphic by Andy Bruce, editing by Kate Holton and Andy Bruce)