Page last updated at 23:07 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 00:07 UK

UK food prices show 8.3% increase

Supermarket checkout
Shoppers are feeling the strain of food price rises

Food prices in UK supermarkets and shops have risen by 8.3% since January, an index compiled for the BBC shows.

Meat and fish - up 22.9% - registered the biggest price increases for any one category in the survey, with fresh fruit and vegetables up 14.7%.

Retail analysts Verdict Research also found price rises of nearly 50% for some individual food items.

The figures come amid growing concern about the high cost of food, which is exceeding the official inflation rate.

The BBC Food Price Index compiled by Verdict is designed to track the cost of a typical trolley of UK food items.

Meat and fish: +22.9%
Store cupboard/general: +15%
Fresh fruit/vegetables: +14.7%
Laundry/washing/paper: +14.4%
Drink: +6.8%
Pet food: +6.5%
Bakery/cereal: +6%
Frozen food: +5.8%
Household: +4.4%
Health & beauty: +0.4%
Ready meals: -0.4%
Dairy: -1.8%
Baby food: -2.5%
Source: Verdict Research

It divides household supermarket purchases into 13 categories, including frozen foods, fresh fruit and vegetables, ready meals and dairy goods.

The index showed that during the eight months from January to August, meat and fish prices went up by 22.9%, making them the fastest-rising category.

General store-cupboard items, such as tinned foods, were the next most inflation-busting sector, registering a 15% increase, while fresh fruit and vegetables went up by 14.7%.

Seven items in the survey were found to have gone up in price by more than 40%.

A pack of four croissants was 47.4% more expensive and a 125g packet of ham went up by 45.4%, while the price of a medium-sized chicken increased by 41.9%.

Pack of four croissants: +47.4%
Original/Bolognese pasta: +46.2%
Ham (125g pack): +45.4%
Chicken breasts (skinless): +42.6%
Basmati rice (500g): +42.1%
Medium whole chicken: +41.9%
Mayonnaise (400g): +40.6%
Source: Verdict Research

The figures produced for the BBC are in line with other recently-published research showing the impact of food price rises on UK household budgets.

On Wednesday, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that food price inflation over the past year amounted to 10% - more than twice the official Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rate of 4.4%.

The BRC figures indicated that the rate of increase for fresh food items was even higher, at 11.9%.

CPI inflation is likely to rise to about 5% in coming months, analysts say.

Concern about inflation has led the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to resist calls for cuts in interest rates, despite fears that the UK economy may be heading for recession if the cost of borrowing money does not come down.

On Thursday, the MPC voted to keep interest rates on hold at 5% for a fifth month.

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