Fresh food prices continue to rise

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The cost of fresh fruit, vegetables, bread and meat has continued its upwards trajectory as retailers endure inflationary pressures as a result of the weak pound, new figures show.

According to the latest BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index, fresh food inflation hit one per cent year-on-year last month, up from 0.9 per cent in March.

However, overall food inflation slowed slightly to 0.9 per cent, down from the one per cent increase recorded in March – which was the sharpest rise since February 2014.

While April’s inflation figures marks four years of falling prices, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) warned of a “change in sight” due to months of decelerating deflation.

Overall shop prices reported deflation of 0.5 per cent in April from the 0.8 per cent drop in March, making it the shallowest deflation rate since November 2013.

In addition, non-food deflation decelerated to 1.4 per cent from the two per cent decline in March, the softest fall since April 2013.

“This month’s figures mark the four-year anniversary of falling shop prices as competition in the industry continues to keep a lid on prices for consumers,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“Nevertheless, the rate of deflation has been decelerating month-on month as retailers battle with inflationary pressures resulting from the impact of the weaker pound on input prices.”

Dickinson added that the pausing of food inflation at around one per cent was “actually relatively low in the in the face of input costs that are rising much faster”.

“Prices are undoubtedly on an upward trajectory, which we expect to gradually play out over the course of the year,” she said.

“With the squeeze on household incomes tightening, the retail industry expects plans from the next government that puts consumers first in the Brexit negotiations, ensuring that ordinary shoppers are protected from the cost of unwanted new tariffs.”

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