More than a fifth of households in Great Britain say they are struggling to make ends meet as the price of the weekly grocery shop rises 7%, the highest level of inflation in 13 years.
Nine in 10 people say they are worried about the rising price of groceries, according to the market research group Kantar, putting the issue in second place behind concerns about energy bills as the cost of living crisis hits families hard.
Fraser McKevitt, the head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “People are really feeling the squeeze at the supermarket tills and they’re having to stretch their budgets further to accommodate rising prices.
“To put the most recent numbers into context, if you were picking up supplies for a family fry up over the long weekend with toast, eggs, sausages, bacon, and beans it would cost you £6.83 – that’s a significant 40p increase on last year.”
Despite the price rises, overall supermarket sales fell by 4.4% in the three months to 15 May according to Kantar as the reopening of bars, cafes and restaurants allowed more people to dine out rather than cook at home.
Sales declined at all the big four supermarket chains, with Morrisons hit hardest. The Bradford-based chain’s sales slid 9.5% taking its share of the take-home grocery market to 9.5%, just half a percentage point ahead of Aldi.
Aldi and Lidl were the only chains to book higher sales as shoppers sought ways to reduce their weekly spend and they continued to open new stores. Lidl’s sales rose by 6% and Aldi’s by 5.8%, handing both new record shares of the grocery market – 6.9% and 9% respectively.
McKevitt said the four-day bank holiday for the platinum jubilee in early June was expected to spur a spending spree at supermarkets despite straitened times.
“Looking back at the diamond jubilee in 2012, we saw a 10% boost in supermarket sales during the week leading up to the festivities. We should never underestimate the appetite for a party, especially a royal one,” he said.
Kantar predicts a sharp increase in barbecue foods, indulgent desserts, beer, wine and soft drinks as families gather to enjoy the long weekend.
However, McKevitt said shoppers may be more circumspect than in 2012 as, for example, the price of a bottle of sparkling wine had risen to £7.05 compared with £5.20 a decade ago.
“While we are all keen to celebrate in style, shoppers will be carefully considering any unnecessary expense and prices are significantly different from the last Jubilee,” McKevitt said.