Energy prices are driving the costs of essentials to unseen levels

Food inflation in the UK soared to a record 11.6% in October, as even basics such as tea, milk, and sugar became much pricier, according to new figures released by the British Retail Consortium-Nielsen Shop Price Index on Wednesday.

Food price growth was well above September’s 10.6% and the three-month average rate of 9.7%, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The cost of fresh food in British shops jumped by 13.3% in October compared to last year, and was sharply up from the 12.1% rise recorded in September, which is the biggest annual increase since 2005, when the BRC started collecting the data.

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“Prices were pushed up because of the significant input cost pressures faced by retailers due to rising commodity and energy prices and a tight labor market,” BRC CEO Helen Dickinson, said, adding that it would be hard for retailers not to hike prices again in the run-up to Christmas.

The report shows that essentials such as tea bags, milk, and sugar saw some of the most significant price rises. Non-food inflation at supermarkets accelerated to 4.1% in October, up from 3.3% in the previous month. Overall shop prices are now 6.6% higher than they were in the same period last year.

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