The annual rate of food price inflation has slowed for the first time this year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium-Nielsen shop price index.

Annual food price inflation in April was 7.9%, down from 9% in March. Overall annual shop price inflation dropped to 1.4%, from 2% the previous month.

On a month-on-month basis the overall food index reported deflation of 0.3%. The price of fresh food products decreased by 0.4% compared with last month, while ambient foods decreased by 0.1%.

The main upward inflationary pressure continues to come from the farmgate price of fresh meats and some vegetables feeding through to consumer prices. Further depreciation of sterling could add to this inflationary pressure; but a more stable currency means food inflation should continue to ease over the coming months.

“With food cheaper than a month ago, the worst of food price inflation may be over, thanks to a more stable value for the pound,” BRC director general Stephen Robertson said. “But rising farmgate prices for meat and some vegetables are the main factors working against retailers’ attempts to keep overall shopping bills down.”