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The price of branded food is rising faster than general grocery inflation, Which? data reveals

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Molly Long
hands spreading butter on a slice of crusty bread with loaf in the background

New research from consumer champion Which? has revealed many of the UK’s most popular branded food products are increasing in price well above the general rate of grocery inflation.

Which? looked at 79 branded items, and compared prices across six major supermarkets: Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. Prices for this month were compared with the same period in 2020.

Among the worst offenders were branded butters, pre-made sauces and sliced bread loaves, but all products examined had risen by at least 22%. This is significantly higher than the current rate of food inflation, which market research company Kantar has placed at 14.7%.

Heinz Tomato Ketchup topped the list, with an average price increase of 53% across the six shops. The brand’s Cream of Chicken and Cream of Tomato soups also made it into the top 10, with average price rises of 46% and 44% respectively.

News of the increases comes just months after Heinz products temporarily disappeared from Tesco shelves, following a dispute about price hikes.

Branded butters have also seen a significant increase. A 500g tub of Anchor Spreadable Butter has risen on average by 45%, while the same amount of Lurpak Spreadable Slightly Salted has increased by 35%.

Other dairy products that also made the Which? top 30 list include a litre of Cravendale Semi Skimmed Milk, which is on average 38% more expensive than in 2020, and Cathedral City Extra Mature which has risen in price by 26%.

These price hikes chime with warnings given by farmers, who have for months cautioned that the cost of producing dairy products is rising and that these expenses could be passed on to the consumer.

Sliced bread also featured several times on the list. Hovis’ Soft White Thick Bread Loaf and Soft White Medium Bread Loaf have risen 24% and 22% respectively. Meanwhile, Hovis Granary Wholemeal has increased by a significant 43%.

In response to the rising cost of food, Which? has launched the Affordable Food For All Campaign. In particular, the initiative is taking aim at so-called ‘food deserts’ – areas of the UK which are not well served by supermarkets, and where healthy food is inaccessible either because it is too expensive, or simply not widely stocked.

Sue Davies, Which? Head of Consumer Protection and Food Policy, said: “Supermarkets must ensure budget lines for healthy and affordable essential items are widely available across their stores, including smaller convenience stores.

“Promotions should be targeted at those most in need, and people should be supported so they can easily compare the price of products to get the best value.”

The top 15 branded food products that had been worst affected by inflation according to Which? were:

  1. Heinz Tomato Ketchup (top down) 460g – 53%
  2. Dolmio Lasagne Sauce 470g – 47%
  3. Heinz Classic Cream of Chicken Soup 400g – 46%
  4. Dolmio Bolognese Original Pasta Sauce 500g – 46%
  5. Anchor Spreadable Butter 500g tub – 45%
  6. Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup – 44%
  7. Colman’s Classic Mint Sauce – 44%
  8. Colman’s Horseradish Sauce 136g – 44%
  9. Batchelors Super Noodles BBQ Beef Flavour 90g – 43%
  10. Hovis Granary Wholemeal 800g – 43%
  11. Sharwoods Butter Chicken Cooking Sauce 420g – 39%
  12. Cravendale Semi Skimmed Milk 1,000ml – 38%
  13. Sharwoods Balti Cooking Sauce 420g – 38%
  14. Sharwoods Korma Cooking Sauce 420g – 38%
  15. Lurpak Spreadable Slightly Salted 500g tub – 35%

Understand the impact that inflation has on all stages of the food supply chain in this episode of the Food Matters Live Podcast:

What rising inflation means for the food industry


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