Shoppers putting less in their baskets as food prices rise

People are cutting back on their food shopping as the rising cost of living hits household budgets.

Nearly half of adults (43%) surveyed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said they had bought less when food shopping in the past two weeks due to higher prices.

Similarly, 46% reported they were spending more than usual to get what they normally buy.

The figures come after Asda and Tesco said that customers were changing their shopping behaviour by buying less food or switching to budget ranges.

Consumer prices overall are continuing to rise at the fastest rate for 40 years, with UK inflation at 9.1%, the highest level since March 1982. Food inflation is at 8.6%.

In the ONS survey, 91% of adults reported that their cost of living had risen over the past month. This proportion was at 62% when the question was first asked in a survey in November 2021.

“Households and businesses in the UK are continuing to feel the squeeze from rising prices, as higher energy prices, a tight labour market and increasing transport and commodity costs filter through to consumers,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium.

“Retailers are working hard to do what they can to protect their customers from price rises, including by expanding value ranges, keeping the cost of essentials down and providing discounts for certain vulnerable groups.”