Renewed call to tackle food inflation

The government is facing renewed calls to address food inflation after a survey showed 84% of shoppers were worried about rising prices.

Soaring food prices are forcing UK consumers to make changes to their shopping habits, according to research from the Which? consumer group.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Our research shows that despite inflation falling slightly in June, people are still feeling the squeeze.”

The survey found that 84% of people are worried about the rising cost of food.

Nine in 10 people had noticed an increase in food prices over the last year, and one-third said they had already reduced spending on groceries this year.

People had also switched to cheaper brands, bigger “value” packs and more supermarket own-brands, said Mr Lloyd.

“People are changing their behaviour and becoming more savvy shoppers when it comes to groceries, but there’s only so much they can do to cut back on the basics.”

Mr Lloyd said Which? was talking to economists, the food industry and government to find out how higher food prices could be addressed.

This is the second warning this week about the impact of rising food prices.

The Which? report follows revised food inflation figures from Kantar Worldpanel forecasting that grocery prices will grow by more than 5% this year.

The latest findings prompted a critical response from shadow DEFRA secretary Mary Creagh.

“The Tory-led government is failing to get a grip on the impact of rising food prices on family budgets,” she said.

Mrs Creagh said the government had failed to bring forward any plans to deal with rising food prices or deal with increasing costs for farmers.

“Feeding the nation is too important to be left to chance,” she said.

“The government needs to get on with its plans for a groceries code adjudicator to ensure a fair deal for UK shoppers and farmers.”

Earlier this month, DEFRA conceded that high food prices were a worry . But the government insisted it was working to tackle to problem.

“The impact of food price inflation, and especially spikes in commodity prices, are a real cause for concern,” said a DEFRA spokesman.

“We’re leading internationally and at home to feed a rapidly expanding global population in a sustainable way.”

Food production needed to increase in a way that reduced the impact on the environment, as well as helping to feed people, the spokesman said.