Breakfast Index Surges 22% Amid Sticky UK Food Inflation

The price of a full English breakfast has soared to a record high even as the UK’s overall rate of inflation slows.

(Bloomberg) — The price of a full English breakfast has soared to a record high even as the UK’s overall rate of inflation slows.

The average cost of ingredients to make a traditional fry-up jumped by more than 22% from a year earlier in January. That’s the biggest increase since Bloomberg started the Breakfast Index in June. 

The index crunches data from Britain’s Office for National Statistics, looking at the prices of sausage, bacon, eggs, bread, butter, tomatoes, mushrooms, milk, tea and coffee. It shows that there’s no respite for households struggling with higher food prices.

Using product sizes provided by the ONS, the total cost has risen by more than £5 ($6) from a year earlier to £34.30.

“The cost of living crisis still has some way to play out,” said Lisa Hooker, industry leader for consumer markets at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. “With shoppers forced to spend more on essentials, this is bad news for the wider retail, consumer and leisure industries.”

In a sign of how inflation is affecting the most basic ingredients, milk posted the biggest price increase with a 50% jump from a year earlier. Eggs and butter followed, and every ingredient rose in price. On a monthly basis, coffee and tea climbed the most with sausages actually dropping in price. 

Supermarkets are coming under strain as they balance higher costs with the need to attract customers. Waitrose is slashing prices by a record amount as the upmarket grocer tries to win back shoppers who have decamped to cheaper rivals. Its price cuts span more than 300 products include sausages, tea, peas and carrots.

French supermarkets are also under pressure from inflation. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire is set to meet the country’s grocers to discuss ways to reduce prices of essential goods in their stores. Carrefour SA’s chief executive officer Alexandre Bompard said food makers are demanding “delirious” price hikes. 

Tensions between retailers and suppliers are high in the UK as well, and shoppers are opting more for own-label goods to save money.

–With assistance from Eamon Akil Farhat.

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