Price of food in October ‘around 30% higher’ than two years ago
Prices rose by 0.1% between September and October 2023 for food and non-alcoholic beverages, following a 0.1% decline the previous month.
This compares with a rise of 2.0% between the same two months a year ago, according to the latest Consumer Price Inflation from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
This saw an easing in the annual rate to 10.1% in October 2023, down from 12.2% in September and a recent high of 19.2% in March 2023, the highest annual rate seen for over 45 years.
The easing in the annual rate for food and non-alcoholic beverages was driven by price movements, which saw nine of the 11 classes provide a downward contribution in the latest month. The largest downward contribution came from the milk, cheese and eggs category, and the vegetables category.
Within milk, cheese and eggs, there were downward effects from three of the six subclasses, notably from yoghurt, with prices in this category falling by 2.9% between September and October this year, compared with a rise of 5.8% between the same two months in 2022.
This led to the annual rate for milk, cheese and eggs easing to 7.9% in the year to October 2023, down from 12.3% in September.
Within vegetables, there were downward effects from three of the six subclasses, notably from crisps, with prices for these products falling by 3.4% between September and October this year, compared with a rise of 4.1% between the same two months a year ago.
This has led to the annual rate for vegetables easing to 10.8% in the year to October 2023, down from 14.4% in September.
The remaining two classes were oils and fats, and coffee, tea and cocoa whose annual rates were unchanged between September and October this year, as were every subclass in each of these categories.
Although the annual rate at which food prices have been increasing has been slowing, the food price index is still at a high level in comparison to recent years. The price of food in October 2023 was around 30% higher than it was in October 2021.
Commenting on the latest inflation statistics, ONS Chief Economist Grant Fitzner said: “Inflation fell substantially on the month as last year’s steep rise in energy costs has been followed by a small reduction in the energy price cap this year.
“Food prices were little changed on the month, after rising this time last year, while hotel prices fell, both helping to push inflation to its lowest rate for two years.
“The cost of goods leaving factories rose on the month. However, the annual growth was slightly negative, led by petroleum and basic metal products,” he added.