More than a fifth of households in Britain say they are struggling to make ends meet as the price of weekly groceries rises by 7%, the highest level of inflation in 13 years.
According to market research group Kantar, nine out of ten people say they are concerned about rising grocery prices, putting the issue second only to concerns about energy bills, as the cost of living hits families hard.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insights at Kantar, said: “People are really feeling the pressure at supermarket checkouts and they have to stretch their budgets further to cope with rising prices.
“To put the most recent numbers into context, if you picked up supplies for a family fry over the long weekend with toast, eggs, sausage, bacon and beans, it would cost you 6.83 £ – that’s a significant 40p increase over the last year.”
Despite rising prices, overall supermarket sales fell 4.4% in the three months to May 15 according to Kantar, as the reopening of bars, cafes and restaurants allowed more people to dine out rather than cooking at home.
Sales fell at all four major supermarket chains, with Morrisons the hardest hit. Sales for the Bradford-based chain fell 9.5%, taking its takeaway grocery market share to 9.5%, just half a percentage point ahead of Aldi.
Aldi and Lidl were the only chains to record higher sales as shoppers looked for ways to cut weekly spending and continued to open new stores. Lidl’s sales rose 6% and Aldi’s 5.8%, delivering both new record grocery market shares – 6.9% and 9% respectively.
McKevitt said the four-day Platinum Jubilee holiday in early June is expected to spur a spending spree at supermarkets despite the tough times.
“Looking back to the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, we saw a 10% increase in supermarket sales in the week leading up to the festivities. We should never underestimate the appetite for a party, especially a royal one,” said he declared.
Kantar predicts a surge in barbecue food, gourmet desserts, beer, wine and soft drinks as families come together to enjoy the long weekend.
However, McKevitt said shoppers may be more wary than in 2012 as, for example, the price of a bottle of sparkling wine has risen to £7.05 from £5.20 a decade ago.
“While we all want to celebrate in style, buyers will carefully consider unnecessary spending and prices are very different from last Jubilee,” McKevitt said.