UK Food Prices Hit Near 50-Year High

Even as the Biden administration touts economic reports that show the inflation rate is beginning to move in the right direction, consumers continue to bear the burden of sky-high prices for groceries and other necessities.

In January, grocery prices were 11.3% more expensive, on average, than they were one year earlier. Although the cost of ingredients have moderated somewhat since then, bloated expenses for labor and transportation have kept food prices at near-record highs for American shoppers.

For consumers in the United Kingdom, the situation is even more dire. Recent reports show that year-over-year inflation was at a double-digit rate once again last month — and the adjusted cost of food reached its highest point in nearly a half-century.

Certain staples were notably more expensive than others. The price of bread and cereals, for example, was nearly 20% higher in March than the same month last year. For some dairy items, the inflation rate hovered around 38%.

Products made with olive oil were a staggering 49% higher over the same period.

Other common items, including chocolate, saw their prices reach the highest point since the government began tracking such information.

Although the March inflation rate of 10.1% was a full point lower than it was in October, the cause for that decline was primarily a reduction in the cost of gasoline and heating oil.

“Clothing, furniture and household goods prices increased, but more slowly than a year ago,” said Office for National Statistics chief economist Grant Fitzner. “However, these were partially offset by the cost of food, which is still climbing steeply, with bread and cereal price inflation at a record high. The overall costs facing business have been largely stable since last summer, although prices remain high.”

Meanwhile, the nation’s low unemployment rate is further stymying efforts to reinvigorate the economy, as an official at the lobbying group Confederation of British Industry explained.

“A tight labor market means it is still difficult for firms to hire the people they need and high inflation means that the value of wages [is] falling,” Matthew Percival said. “Both of these dynamics are acting as a drag on growth.”