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Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

Pound shop

Len Tingle
Len Tingle
Politics Show Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Sprouts: wholesale prices are up 10%

As the recession bites, inflation in the cost of most things is falling, but fresh food is still much more expensive than it was a year ago.

So is that changing the way people feed the family - the Politics Show investigates?

Barnsley, in South Yorkshire, is famous for its market.

In the 70s, it was a sprawling area of stalls open to the elements where shoppers from all over the region bought all of their fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish.

Since then, it has gradually moved indoors and the shoppers are older.

"Well younger people like the supermarkets where they can park the car outside", one stallholder tells the Politics Show team.

"The vast majority of my customers over the past few years have been pensioners," says another.

Rediscovering youth

They say that as the credit crunch has bitten markets have had a new lease of life and it is happening all over the country.

Market traders point to the latest figures on inflation, which show the price of meat rising by around 16% in the past year with fresh fruit and vegetables up by 10% over the same period.

Market Traders Federation Shopping Basket survey
Survey of 20 identical items of fresh produce:
markets are almost 32% cheaper
can buy an additional three shopping baskets a year
"All our members report higher turnovers," says Joe Harrison of the South Yorkshire-based National Market Traders Federation.

"And there are people about that we have never seen before. Younger people are coming back to the market."

According to the market traders, price has become far more important in the past few months.

Joe Harrison with Len Tingle
Joe Harrison shows Len Tingle around Barnsley Market

In a "shopping basket" survey, the Federation claims that fresh produce bought from a traditional market is 32% cheaper than the average price of similar food bought in supermarkets.

Budget worries

Traditional markets are not the only food sellers finding more customers heading their way.

Supermarket chains, specialising in cheaper and unbranded goods, claim to have increased turnover since the start of summer 2008.

Aldi chain survey
73.2% of UK consumers are worried by food and grocery costs - almost double the number of people concerned by mortgage repayments
56.6% of people are now buying less branded food than 2007
1,002 surveyed by Verdict Research October 2008

The German-owned Aldi chain says a survey carried out on its behalf by the specialist retail analysts, Verdict Research, shows just how important the price of food has become, as the recession gets under way with almost twice as many people worried about grocery costs than mortgage repayments and many more people buying non-branded food.

Market traders claim fruit is cheaper than supermarkets

Clare Frisby and the Politics Show team take a look at food prices and the possible ways in which hard-pressed families can be helped.

The Politics Show for Yorkshire Lincolnshire and the North Midlands- Sundays from 12:00 GMT on BBC One

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