Rising food prices a source of stress

New evidence from Which? reveals rising food prices are increasing the squeeze on hard-pressed consumers, causing stress and worry.

Ahead of the start of the Labour party conference and with the cost of living a major theme for all political parties, new research from Which? shows eight in ten shoppers (78%) are concerned about the increasing cost of food.

Over the last six years, food prices have risen over and above general inflation by 12.6% but with incomes stagnating, nearly half (45%) of consumers now say they are spending a larger proportion of their available income on food compared to 12 months ago.

Six in 10 (60%) are worried about how they will manage their future spending on groceries if prices continue to rise with four in 10 (41%) saying the cost of food is a source of stress. Three in 10 (29%) say they struggle to feed themselves or their family because of the cost.

In a separate survey, our latest monthly consumer tracking shows one million more households are feeling the squeeze compared to a year ago, leaving 9.5m struggling to cope with the cost of living. Over the past year, food has become the top item that people spend their savings on, overtaking luxuries like holidays and other essentials like household bills and car costs. On top of that, four in 10 (40%) say they are likely to cut back spending on food in the next few months.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“While people seem to have accepted their grocery bill going up, stagnating incomes and rocketing food prices are causing stress and worry and leaving people wondering how they are going to cope.

“Supermarkets need to make it much easier for consumers to spot the best deal by ensuring pricing is simple and making special offers genuinely good value for money. Politicians need to put consumers at the heart of their economic policies to tackle the rising cost of living and to support growth and prosperity.”

 Notes for editors:

1.    Food survey: Populus, on behalf of Which?, surveyed 2,028 GB adults, of which 1,969 were grocery shoppers, online between 28th and 30th June 2013. Data were weighted to be representative of the GB population. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

2.    Monthly tracker survey: Populus, on behalf of Which?, interviewed 2,091 UK adults online between 28th and 29th August 2013.  Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all UK adults.

3.    Which? calculation for 12.6% food price rise is based on ONS data.

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