Social Justice

‘It’s expensive to be poor’: How the cost of living crisis has impacted food prices

Food campaigner Jack Monroe said she hoped new figures from the Office for National Statistics would be taken into account by MPs.

Image: Victoriano Izquierdo / Unsplash

A shopping trolley of basic grocery items costs on average 6 per cent more than it did a year ago, according to new data. 

The annual change in price of 30 grocery items, which includes just one fresh vegetable – onions, (tomatoes don’t count), as well as fish fingers, rice, biscuits, bananas, pizza and potatoes, was measured by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to gauge how much more low-income families were having to spend on food. 

The cost of value-branded pasta saw the steepest increase of 50 per cent as of April, with crisps rising in price by 17 per cent and bread 16 per cent. The cost of meat took the sharpest upturn in cash terms, with 500g of beef mince up 32p to £2.34, and chicken breast costs up 28p to £3.50 for 600g.

Some food items bucked the trend by falling in price – the cost of potatoes dropped by 14 per cent, cheese was found to be 7 per cent cheaper, and pizza was 4 per cent less. 

Back in January, food poverty campaigner Jack Monro highlighted the disproportionate impact of inflation on low-income families, who are being hit hardest by the cost of living crisis.

The same week, the ONS announced it would “transform” how it examines the cost of living.

Monroe said that she hoped the new figures demonstrating her argument that “it’s FAR more expensive to be poor” would be taken into account by MPs who “set the uprating figures for benefits, and also discussions around a real living wage.”

The Living Wage Foundation, which independently calculates the income needed to live an adequate lifestyle in Britain, recently announced that it would be bringing forward its yearly rate calculations by two months, in response to the cost of living crisis.

The move is unprecedented in the 20 year history of the campaign.

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