Inflation continues to push food prices up

Food and drink prices have continued to soar at a fast rate.

UK inflation dropped marginally last month but remains at over 10%, according to consumer price index data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

However, despite the slight dip, food and drink prices have continued to soar at the fastest rate the nation has seen in 45 years. 

The ONS report shows that food costs have jumped by 19.1% year-on-year – the steepest increase the UK has seen since August 1977. 

A shortage of vegetables across the country continues to impact inflation, with the cost of basic products such as fruit, bread and cereals continuing to increase. 

Price rises have been partly offset by diminishing fuel costs, with petrol and diesel prices down 5.9% against March 2022, when costs had climbed due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Pubs and bars passing on price impact

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls says of the findings: "It’s becoming increasingly concerning that we’re not seeing inflation decrease as quickly as many hoped, particularly when business costs are experiencing inflation far higher than the 10.1% released by the ONS today.

"We [recently] saw that food service price inflation remains over 20% and new research shows that the price pubs paid for food rose three times quicker than their menu prices."

Nicholls says that hospitality businesses are doing all they can to shield consumers from price rises, which means they’ve absorbed as much cost as they can, but that this is becoming unsustainable for many.

"Our sector can help the government achieve its aims of halving inflation, if it is given a helping hand by the government to ease recruitment challenges and energy suppliers are reigned in so energy costs are able to fall. I would strongly urge it to do so and harness the power of hospitality to create employment and economic growth, and reduce inflation."

The ONS reports that inflation dropped from 10.4% in February to 10.1% last month. While economists had forecast that inflation would sit at 9.8%, it remains 2% above target, placing pressure on the Bank of England regarding interest rates. 

Economists have been hoping for a significant drop in the inflationary pressure felt by businesses and consumers alike, but Bloomberg Economics suggests there is more than an 80% chance of another hike next month. 

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