Food prices rose at their fastest pace since 2008 in August as pressure from war in Ukraine continued to drive up costs, figures show.
Annual retail price inflation jumped to 5.1% from 4.4% in July, marking a new high since the launch of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the NielsenIQ index in 2005.
The overall figure was driven by food inflation which accelerated to 9.3% from 7% last month – the highest rate since August 2008 – as the war in Ukraine and the consequent rise in the price animal feed, fertilizer, wheat and vegetable oils put upward pressure on prices.
The annual increase in fresh food prices jumped to 10.5% from 8% in July, with products like milk and margarine seeing the biggest increases.
Rising in-store prices are contributing to wider inflation in the UK, which some analysts say could exceed 18% in 2023.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Things are grim for both consumers and retailers, but retailers will remain committed to supporting their customers by offering discounts to vulnerable groups, expanding ranges of value, fixing the prices of essential products and increasing the remuneration of staff.
“However, as retailers also grapple with mounting cost pressures, they cannot afford all they can do.
“The new Prime Minister will have the opportunity to ease some of the cost burden on retailers, such as the upcoming trade tariff increase, to help retailers do more to help their customers.”
Mike Watkins, Head of Retail and Business Insights at NielsenIQ, said: “Inflation continues to accelerate and shoppers are already cautious about how much they spend on groceries, with sales volume falling. in supermarkets in recent months.
“We can expect this level of food inflation to be with us for at least another six months, but hopefully some of the input cost pressures in the supply chain will eventually ease.
“However, with further declines in disposable income this fall as energy costs rise again, retail spending will be under pressure in the all-important final quarter of the year.”