Further easing of grocery price inflation

Price rises in the supermarkets are continuing to come down but consumers are still on the lookout for bargains, according to the latest data.

Industry analyst Kantar has reported grocery price inflation of 4.5% in the four weeks to 17 March. This is down from the peak of 17% seen in March 2023 and is the lowest level since February 2022.

Many households are still feeling the squeeze, however: 23% said that they were struggling financially, the same proportion as in November last year.

Among the shoppers feeling most pressured, 78% are actively buying cheaper groceries while 68% are using promotions to help manage their budgets.

“Retailers appear to be responding in kind, with the emphasis on discounts and price match schemes continuing this period,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel. “£605m more was spent on deals this month than in March last year, while nearly one third of baskets across Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda collectively contained at least one price matched product.”

Overall, take-home grocery sales rose by 4.6% in the four weeks to 17 March and the data shows that consumers have been stocking up on Easter eggs and hot cross buns.

This year’s early Easter has boosted sales of seasonal treats in the first three months by £88m compared with the same period last year.

People in Wales and the north of England are among the biggest spenders, spending an average of £14.18 and £13.84 on Easter eggs respectively in the past three months. Volume sales of hot cross buns are also up by 15% compared with last year.