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 59.

    Look to traditional recipes to save money on food, and box clever. Example, buy a good sized pork joint, get a nice Sunday dinner out of it, Monday use half the leftovers in a salad, Tuesday use the remainder in a curry. The £5.50 joint seemed expensive but feeding your family for three main meals it's suddenly cheap. We do this regularly, and with 2 adults and 4 children there's plenty each.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Learning how best to cook your family favourite dishes is a good way, you have control, you know what's in it & you learn how to best use up leftovers.

    You will never touch a ready made again & it can be fun.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Prices aren't going up because of 'climate change'. They're going up naturally as is everything else in this country because of inflation. Why is there inflation? Because the last government put us £1.4t in debt, and the paper money they used to pay to put us in that position increased. Therefore, the enforced increase in currency means it is devalued, and more of it is needed to pay for stuff.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Food is increasing, but we still have some of the cheapest groceries in the world (go to America or Canada and see how much they pay!). You can eat healthily and nutritiously for very low amounts - it just requires a couple of saucepans and willingness to cook, rather than binge on fast food and easy microwave meals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    fact is we waste most of our food each week, I stopped buying a huge shop every week a while ago and buy what I need. I would guarantee many throw away stuff each week up to around £20 worth possibly more.

    Just buy what you need, we eat far too much in this country as it is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    In the world's poorest countries food accounts for 90%+ of weekly income,when the UK joined the EEC it was 30% here, by today it's down to single figures(8-9%)& motoring expenses have overtaken food expenses marginally(vindication of subsidised agriculture for anyone conversant with the facts).This doesn't mean that it can be produced for nothing even if some seem to expect it..

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    16. Greggers

    "I suppose this situation was inevitable as soon as women took up full-time work. "

    Housework? I suppose that you might consider doing long hours of hard, physical work for no pay...? No, I thought not!

    There is a reason why women want to be paid... ...dignity!

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Re the 'Which' spokesman's comments, supermarkets already do this with most of them showing unit costs per item. The competition out there is ferocious, but if shoppers only focus on convenience foods and continue to waste and throw out enormous amounts of food, then they become victims of poor value and poor quality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Do not be fooled that the big 4 supermarkets are cheaper, try Lidl or Aldi and your local butcher/greengrocer for your main shop. Aldi is far cheaper than Tesco and Asda and always has 'proper' specials on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Last year a basic food item went up in my local supermarket in one fell swoop from 36p to 50p a rise of something like 40% and then they had the gall to put a price sticker next to it saying ONLY 50p, how smug and deceitful can you get. !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    We have an increasing global population who depend on a fixed land area to produce food , so price increases are inevitable. The use of food crops for biofuels makes things worse. Long-term, depletion of fertiliser sources will create an even larger problem.
    Solutions are to stop producing biofuels, eat less meat, which is inefficient to produce and try to limit population growth.

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    @34. stoneyfarmer

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


    Yet another person that doesn't know what they are talking about.

    I don't have a TV
    Don't use a mobile phone
    Always cook using the cheapest stuff I can find
    Can't grow my own, I don't have the space.

    I don't have things like TV, phone, car, life, because I can't afford those things

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    If this were true there would be no fat people on benefits, it would be a healthy option.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    The increasing price of food has wider reaching consequences for stress than you would initially consider.

    For example, it causes people (myself included) to shop at certain yellow & blue branded, cheaper German-owned supermarkets where they make their financial savings by being stressed out by the long queues and appalling staff manners.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    More useful than stating the obvious would be if they were to investigate why prices have risen, then we might be able to do something about it.
    OTTOMH 3 possible causes (1) demand has risen (2) supply has diminished (3) banks speculating on food prices.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    The UK general public just get ripped off from all angles

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    @ 31 Domestic science has been back in secondary curriculum for several years, my son brought home last week a vile chili and sweet potato soup which we had to pretend to enjoy.

    @34 Not everyone has sky tv, iphones etc nor trawl the ready made aisle. Its ill informed statements like this that help reinforce the Govts hunting season on the lower paid and benefit recipients.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    I have discovered the benefits of the 'budget' supermarkets, but from the local greengrocer and butchers.....I can cook .... find it easy to eat well on not very much money.

    I remember the days of shopping in Tesco....still have memories of a totally obese couple each pushing a trolly laden with food piling on more...fascinating.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    The problem with the inflation figure calculation is that it uses too many things that you only buy every few years. So whilst a nice big flat screen TV might well have tumbled in price, you don't buy one of those every week, do you ?

    But you do buy food, petrol, gas, electricity every week.

    So the figures are fiddled by offsetting your TV price against your foods prices.


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