Your Money Matters: ONS report into price rises for basic food items

The ONS has been monitoring the price of basic food items.

The ONS has been monitoring the price of basic food items. - Credit: PA

According to the latest data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the prices of many basic food items have risen sharply.

The cost of pasta (the lowest priced version) rose by 50 per cent in the year to April other staple items, such as minced beef, bread and rice also saw large increases, according to the ONS.

The data shows the average price increase of 30 budget food items at supermarkets was 6.7 per cent below the rate of inflation. The cost of living, or rate of inflation, rose by 9 per cent in April.

The difference between the lowest-cost version of an item and the next lowest-cost version of it is often large; for over two-thirds of the items monitored, the next item was at least 20 per cent more expensive.

The ONS monitored the price of 30 everyday grocery items across seven supermarkets between April 2021 and 2022.

It showed that the price of crisps rose by 17 per cent, bread and minced beef by 16 per cent and rice by 15 per cent.

Some everyday items did, however, see a drop in prices, the price of potatoes went down by 14 per cent. Cheese, pizza, chips, sausages and apples also saw a drop in price.

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The exact timing of price increases varied depending on the individual product. For example, the lowest price of baked beans rose by 10 per cent over October and November 2021, while pasta prices rose 32 per cent over November and December 2021.

Other items saw a more gradual increase or decrease in the lowest price. For example, the lowest price of potatoes trended downward over the 12 months and was 14 per cent lower in April 2022 compared with a year ago. Several items had a very stable lowest price throughout the entire period, such as sausages and yoghurt.

The ONS report also said there was some evidence of shrinkflation - which means pack sizes are reduced, so you are getting less product, but the item costs the same. It is also worth noting that there was evidence that sugar-free or low-salt versions of some pf the lowest-cost items were often the same price as the standard versions of these products

The ONS said it identified the grocery items most likely to be bought by households on low incomes.