Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 14:08 UK

Family food shop up '15 a week'

Food shopper paying at till
High food bills will impact consumer spending in other retail sectors

High food costs have added 15 to a weekly supermarket shop for a family of four in the UK, new research suggests.

Comparison website MySupermarket.co.uk says a basket of 24 staple items including tea bags, milk and eggs costs 15% more than it did 12 months ago.

The findings are based on its price comparisons of certain everyday items at Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda.

A white loaf was up more than 20% at 65 pence at Tesco and Sainsbury's, while the cost of butter has doubled.

Shopping basket

At all three supermarkets, the price of a dozen medium free-range eggs was up almost 50% to 2.58 from 1.75 a year earlier.

A packet of fusilli pasta has nearly doubled to 67p from 37p, as has the cost of a 250g tub of butter, to 94p from 58p.

COST OF FOOD
White loaf at Sainsbury's and Tesco: 65p - up 20%
Butter: 94p - up 62%
English mild cheddar: 1.52 - up 26%
Garden peas at Tesco: 1.79 - up 63%
Basmati white rice: 1.45 - up 61%
Source: MySupermarket.co.uk

Other items in the basket of staple goods were milk, minced beef, peas, pasta sauce, jam, corn flakes and rice.

However, the cost of a number of fruit and vegetables bucked the trend. They were either static or were cheaper when compared with last April.

But that is unlikely to comfort shoppers or ease an overall rise in prices, analysts said.

Johnny Stern, managing director of MySupermarket.co.uk, said: "The conclusion is that supermarkets are passing on a sizeable amount of the increased costs.

"The average customer cares about the products they need to put in their basket every week that they don't have any choice about," he added.

The increases mean that families spending an average of 100 a week on food will be spending 780 a year more at a time when customers are under increasing pressure from higher mortgage, petrol and energy costs.

Global problem

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown met food industry representatives and experts on Tuesday to consider ways to tackle the effects of international food price rises.

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The price rises contributing to a higher cost of living

Products including rice, cooking oil and wheat have been scaling new peaks since the beginning of the year.

The increases have been driven by a number of supply problems in key producing countries, mainly caused by bad weather and the increase in the use of land to grow crops for biofuel.

Those costs have been fed through to meat and dairy products as farmers pay more to feed their livestock.

Analysts have warned that the higher prices are threatening to drive an extra 100 million people worldwide into poverty.


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