Rising food costs causing 'stress' - Which? survey

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Rising food prices are a source of stress to four in ten shoppers, according to consumer group Which?

In a survey of 2,028 people, 41% said the issue was causing them stress, while 29% said they were struggling to feed themselves or their family.

And 78% said they were concerned about food price increases.

According to the Office for National Statistics, food prices have risen by 12.6% above inflation over the past six years, while incomes have stalled.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said people accepted food costs would go up, but "rocketing" prices were "causing stress and worry and leaving people wondering how they are going to cope".

"Stagnating" incomes meant people were finding it harder and harder to buy food, he said.

He added: "Supermarkets need to make it much easier for consumers to spot the best deal by ensuring pricing is simple and making special offers genuinely good value for money.

"Politicians need to put consumers at the heart of their economic policies to tackle the rising cost of living and to support growth and prosperity."

Healthy options

Among the other results of the survey, conducted for Which? in June by Populus, 60% of people said they were worried about how they would manage future spending on groceries if prices continued to rise.

Dan Crossley, executive director of the Food Ethics Council charity, said food price rises were "almost inevitable" due to "resource constraint, climate change and population growth".

"Food businesses and government need to start planning now for that future by taking urgent action to tackle the issue of food affordability, including the introduction of measures such as a living wage," he said.

"They also need to develop robust policies that make healthy food affordable, rather than peddling 'cheap' food that is costing us dear in terms of our health and our environment."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Which is a commercial company promoting itself by surveys. Why do the BBC keep falling for it?

    This like most this utter rubbish. There are heaps of low cost food in supermarkets. We get other silly surveys telling us we are overweight, that is due to cheap food!

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    I wonder what percentage of those "stressed" about food prices are carrying around nice shiny new iPhones? Food expenditure as a percentage of take home wages has been coming down for years. If you are prepared to cook yourself from raw ingredients, you can still feed a family well at a reasonable price. If course, this probably doesn't include Coke and other overpriced branded rubbish...

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    I wonder what Milliband thinks of this survey he told us yesterday people on £60k are poor how does he think the millions on £15- £25k are managing with rising food costs

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    People are paying more than they need to because they don't shop around. Buying food that's in season and using leftovers to make soups etc is a good start.

    It always amazes me that many people who complain about the cost of essentials spend half of it in takeaways and have no problem rushing out to buy a new smart phone and the latest game console.

    Avoid supermarkets, go to the local market.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Sophisticated purchasing is the answer along with a good freezer and cooking know how.Only buy offers and out of date stuff (Sunday 14.00 is a good time to stock up).I also look out for unexpected weather changes that werent predicted because if that happens supermarkets can find themselves over loaded with stock that cares a short shelf life ie BBQ burgers when the weather goes from hot to cold

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Maybe those struggling to meet food costs should reset their priorities.

    Cancel the standing order for subscription TV
    Instal a proper phone and ditch the iPhone
    Learn how to cook instead of watching TV
    Grow your own instead of trawling the ready-made aisles

    Just a thought ....

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Humans are taking over the earth like an infestation.
    It means land is becoming more expensive and anything that is built on it or grown in it also becomes more expensive.
    Money is always a stress and becomes more so in a recession.
    Yes the bankers contributed to the current financial problems, but you can't blame them for everything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.


    People on benefits get about £1 increase a week every year. Food, electricity, gas all increase far beyond that small increase,and with the Bedroom tax and paying Council tax, people have to use Food Banks and freeze in the winter...Get real.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Yes, I agree that the price of food is too high but we need to look at the wider picture. Sadly, many young ( and not so young) people have no idea of how to create their own meals from scratch and so rely on high priced and nutritionally poor convenience foods. In the 1980s domestic science was dropped from the secondary school curriculum and this is where it has led us. Answer? Bring it back!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Give it a couple of months and the next 'survey' will be regarding our 'stress' at extortionate rising fuel bills. There seems to be a lot of people paid to do sweet nothing but state the blatantly obvious !

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    who,the guy thats say food prices only go up 12% in 6years ye, this year it must be that at least that but you can still feed your self well if you plan ahead,bin all the fizzy crap, crisp ,teeth rotting sweets etc,get a cook book cook your own better for you no take aways full of sugar, switch of that TV if you have time to watch ,thats time gone from FOOD shopping and cooking

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Everything except wages is going up simply because our standard of living (that of the greatest majority) is going down & will continue to do so we and the country becomes poorer. Made worse by a minority now taking a greater share of the available resources beyond the more than adequate they current have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Britain is now 1.2 trillion pounds stirling in debt, excluding bank bail outs. What does any Government do? 'Print' more money with no sign of 'easing'. What can we do? Us, the people. We can't print money. However on a brighter note. Our local GreenGrocers sells all local produce. Example 12 apples 0.99p. Huge Savoy cabbage, Cauliflower 0.80p.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Cost of farming land has tripled in 10 years.

    If you're a farmer and you've borrowed to buy land then quite rightly the income from that land needs to pay the interest on it.

    Result = higher ingredient cost.

    Having said that there are still loads of squat goblins out there buying Sunny D and things that dunk in a plastic boxes.

    Loads of big fat blobby people on the local sink estate I notice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Is this not a statement of the bleeding obvious? Would I be right in guessing that falling food costs are relaxing?

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Benefits go up by the rate of inflation every year, yet I have had a pay freeze for the last 5 years - is it any wonder I am having to eat cheap food? Apples for instance are £2 a bag now, yet I can get a 6 pack of crisps from the pound shop.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    More a source of hunger than stress I would have thought.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Food prices rising? But yet I still see all the junk food on 'special offers' and I would rather pay a bit more and buy British then some cheap imported muck when it comes to meat.

    If people planned their meals instead of throwing half of it away, your money would go further. There's more than enough recipes out there and videos that take minutes to watch/read and yield something very tasty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Stop wasting money on fizzy drinks and ready meals would be a great start, drinking water in the tap is free and cooking from scratch can be done very cheaply (lentil curry with rice etc) even if you keep it organic. And look how much the supermarket are wasting on packaging, electricity wasted on open fridges and freezers - it's you who pays for it.


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