Fresh food prices force consumers to shop around

Government figures have confirmed that UK food prices have risen by almost a third between 2007 and 2012 with fresh food in particular rising 22% higher than the EU average.

The report by the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) stated that whilst UK food prices had risen by 32%, in the same period, food prices in France and Germany had risen on 13%. 

The rising prices have meant that millions of consumers have changed their buying habits with a third of high earners switching to cheaper supermarkets to help make ends meet. 

According to the Axa Big Money Index 32% of middle class people in their 50s and 60s who do not have a mortgage are looking to supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi to make their money go further.

For those on lower incomes who are already shopping at budget retailers, the only option is to buy less food.  The Defra report highlights that those on the lowest incomes bought less food to save money spending 25% less on fruit, 15% less on vegetables and 26% less on meat than in 2007.  Spending on recreation, health and transport was also affected.

Despite the rising costs of fresh food, the Defra report showed that we can take some consolation in the fact that overall prices in the UK were 4% cheaper than in France and 6% cheaper than in Germany in 2011.

Also, whilst food prices in the UK have risen over the last 5 years, it was preceded by a decade of falling food prices.  Despite the recent increases, we spend no more on food as a proportion of household budget than we did 15 years ago.

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