New inflation figures have revealed the pressure soaring food bills are putting on household finances already stretched by rising mortgage payments.
The news comes just a week after motorists found themselves paying an average of £1 a litre at the petrol pump for the first time.
According to details from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average price of a pint of milk has risen by an inflation-busting 11% to 39p over the past year, while a white sliced loaf is now 10% higher at 91p.
Other dairy products such as butter – up 21% to 93p per 250g – and cheddar cheese, 7% dearer at £5.97p a kilo – have also seen significant price hikes. A pint of bitter is now 4% more expensive at £2.32.
Meat prices have risen less steeply, but there have been dramatic rises in the price of some fruit. Oranges are up 20% to 25p each on average, and there’s been a 36% leap in the cost of a kilo of grapes to £3.72.
Bananas, strawberries and grapefruit have added to inflation pressures after price cuts last year were not repeated this year.
Along with rising petrol prices, the soaring food costs helped push the government’s official inflation measure, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), back above the Bank of England’s 2% target, at 2.1% during October.
Food product prices have now risen by 6% in the last year – the highest rate of increase in more than 14 years – and several major firms have recently warned of the need to pass on increases to customers.