From pasta to pet food: How prices of everyday essentials are surging

·3 min read
food prices consumer price index
food prices consumer price index

Energy bills and rising prices at the petrol pump may be the most eye-catching parts of Britain’s inflationary storm, but the pain is being reinforced by the surging price of many other essential goods.

While fuel has caught the attention, prices are rising across the board. Here are some of the less obvious, but essential, items that are rising in cost rapidly.

Food

Food and drink was by far the biggest driver of monthly inflation in the latest figures.

Prices rose 12.7pc in the twelve months to July, the fastest pace since August 2008. Worryingly, food and drink prices jumped by 2.3pc between June and July alone, the biggest one-month jump on record.

Drill down below the headline figures and some of the increases are even more stark. The price of milk has risen by an eye-watering 28pc in twelve months, according to the ONS, while butter was up 27pc, and cheese 17.9pc.

In Sainsbury’s, the price of a two-pint bottle of semi-skimmed milk rose by 25p to £1.05 in the year to August, an increase of 31.3pc, according to Trolley.co.uk. Organic milk prices have increased even more quickly. The sharp increase comes amid warnings from dairy producers looming shortages.

Other staples are also getting squeezed – pasta is 24pc more expensive on average, while the price of lamb has climbed by 16.7pc. Olive oil is up 23.6pc, and condiments such as jam and honey are 21.2pc higher.

Asda’s own-brand three-litre bottle of sunflower oil – one of the products most severely affected by the conflict in Ukraine – has risen £1.50 to £4.80 over the same period, a 45.5pc rise.

Even pet food is not immune to the upward pressure on prices. A 40-pack of 100g Whiskas adult wet cat food satchels has increased by £1.20 to £13.70 at Morrisons since July.

Furniture

Furniture was actually a drag on monthly prices between June and July, one of the only categories to see a decline.

Over the year, however, price increases remained in double-digits, where they’ve been since March.

Despite waning momentum, garden furniture is still the biggest boom category. Prices in this category were 21.1pc higher on average. Household furniture rose by 15.1pc.

For incoming students looking to decorate their new digs, an Ikea Eket 2-drawer cabinet is now £45, versus £40 in May 2021.

Both home and garden furniture are being impacted by supply chain disruption linked to Covid lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine.

Clothes

Clothes prices aren’t increasing at nearly the same pace as food and furniture, but they are increasing. Clothing and footwear rose 6.6pc in the year to July, the ONS said.

A slim-fit easy-iron shirt from H&M now costs £14.99 – late last year, it was £12.99. While it may not sound like a large jump on its own, the fact prices of almost everything else in the economy are also climbing means it all adds up.

The fastest increases in the clothing and footwear category was in the price of cleaning and repairing items, as well as hire clothing – possibly a reflection of rising wages for the people who do these jobs.