Food prices increase as inflation rises

From the Food Foundation:


Latest data from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows food prices climbed in September, making it even harder for many low-income families to buy enough food. The CPI rose by 2.9% in the 12 months to September 2021. Food price inflation was 1.4% higher in September 2021 than it was before the pandemic in January 2020, and 0.91% higher than it was at the start of this year in January 2021 with the uplift seen last month having been maintained.

This is due to knock on effects of HGV crisis, labour shortages especially in hospitality sector, the rise in prices of CO2 and increases in world food prices.

Energy prices have also soared with the cap on energy bills having increased 12% on Monday 1st October, with predictions that this will make the cost of living untenable for Britain’s poorest households this winter. The pressure of food and energy inflation will be especially hard on low-income working families who already spend a large amount of their income of food and are suffering the effects of October’s £20 cut to Universal credit.

New data from The Food Foundation shows half (50%) of households with children think the increase in energy bills will mean they have to consider buying less food. This rises to two thirds (67%) in households with children on Universal Credit.

Furthermore, 55% of households with children are worried that not being able to afford their energy or food bills will directly affect their children’s health and wellbeing. This rises to 73% in households with children on FSM.

There will be little respite in Spring, when the tax increase on earnings is introduced from April following the Chancellor’s decision to raise income tax and national insurance.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimate that even before taking food price inflation into account, a couple with two children earning less than £20k annually and on Universal Credit will be approximately £33.50 worse off per week with the combined effects of the fuel price increases and the cut in Universal Credit. This is approximately the same amount which an average household in the poorest 10% of households spends on their entire weekly food and drink budget.

These latest figures raise the stakes for Marcus Rashford’s #WriteNow campaign that encourages the public to ask their MPs to tackle the growing problem of child food poverty. Every MP across the 533 constituencies in England has been contacted by the public, showing nationwide support for Government action. Marcus’s campaign calls for additional funding for 3 children’s food programmes in the Autumn Spending Review on 27 October as recommended by the Government-commissioned National Food Strategy. This includes the expansion of Free School Meals to more low-income children to ensure more food insecure children receive this vital support to prevent them going hungry – a request so far ministers have rejected.

Food prices Anna Taylor, Executive Director of Food Foundation said:

“At a time when families are under extreme cost pressures with mounting living costs and reduced social security, the increase in food prices will have a huge impact on a low-income families’ ability to feed their children well. Government needs to take control of this situation.  We’re otherwise in real danger of an even more severe child nutrition crisis this winter. We need to see a reversal of the Universal Credit cut and children’s food programmes, including Free School Meals, extended so that at-risk children can depend on at least one decent meal a day.”


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