UK- The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has unveiled a noteworthy decline in food inflation in the UK, dropping to 5% in February from 6.1% in January. 

This deceleration marks a significant relief for consumers amidst prolonged inflationary pressures, signaling the tenth consecutive slowdown in the food category. 

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of BRC, underscores that while supply chain pressures have started to ease, uncertainties persist, particularly amid escalating geopolitical tensions.

Despite this positive development in food inflation, non-food goods remain vulnerable to shipping costs, which have surged due to rerouting imports around the Cape of Good Hope, Dickinson notes.

Offering a respite to UK shoppers, the 5% food inflation figure stands below the three-month average rate of 6%, marking a continued downtrend in the sector. Notably, the decrease in inflation is primarily attributed to declines in prices for bread and cereals.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals that the easing of local inflation was largely driven by a significant 1.3% drop in bread and cereals prices, the most substantial decline in this category since May 2021.

Although food price rises have slowed, they remain elevated. ONS data indicates an overall increase of around 25% in food and non-alcoholic beverage prices between January 2022 and January 2024, significantly higher than the preceding decade’s average of 9%.

In response to rising food costs, a substantial portion of adults in Great Britain reported spending more than usual on food shopping in the past two weeks. Additionally, more than four in ten adults noted buying less food during the same period.

Looking ahead, Dickinson highlights the impending rise in business rates for retailers in April, underscoring the importance of adjusting rates based on current inflation levels to support business investment and alleviate consumer prices. 

Moreover, the BRC anticipates a downward trend in prices over the coming months, emphasizing the significance of stability in pricing to bolster consumer spending amidst weaker demand.

In addition to grappling with inflationary pressures, UK producers are closely monitoring preparations for the rollout of “Not for EU” labels on commercial food and beverage products, which could potentially introduce further complexities and costs to trading operations.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.