Cost of living crisis: Four in 10 Brits buying less food but spending more

·Business reporter
·3-min read
Cost of living crisis: 44% of adults were spending more than usual to get what they normally buy. Photo: Jon Super/Xinhua via Getty
Cost of living crisis: 44% of adults were spending more than usual to get what they normally buy. Photo: Jon Super/Xinhua via Getty

Around four in 10 (39%) people have admitted they bought less food in the past two weeks thanks to the rising cost of living.

This has risen from 34% of Brits trimming back their grocery spending a fortnight ago, and 18% at the start of the year.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed on Friday that 44% of adults were spending more than usual to get what they normally buy.

The most common reason was higher food prices, with 92% of people saying their grocery bill had increased. An increase in gas or electricity bills came in at 86%, and an increase in the price of fuel at 80%.

Watch: Why are gas prices rising?

Earlier this week, data from Kantar showed that grocery price inflation hit 5.9% in April, an 11-year high.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: "The average household will now be exposed to a potential extra £271 per year.

"A lot of this is going on non-discretionary, everyday essentials which will prove difficult to cut back on as budgets are squeezed. We're seeing a clear flight to value as shoppers watch their pennies."

Food prices were rising fastest in markets such as dog food, fresh lamb and savoury snacks, Kantar said.

Meanwhile, overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation jumped to 7% last month.

Analysts had predicted it could have soared to more than 8% due to the impact of higher energy bills, more than four times the Bank of England's (BoE) 2% target.

Read more: From milk and bread to iPhones: How retail prices are rising in the UK

Some 91% of those questioned in the ONS’ latest social impacts survey reported their cost of living had increased, up from 88% earlier this month, highlighting growing concerns over pressure on household finances.

This has steadily increased since the ONS first started asking this question in the period 3 to 14 November 2021, when the figure was 62%.

Around two in five (39%) adults reported they were “very” or “somewhat” worried about the effect of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on their lives right now.

The same proportion of people who pay energy bills said they found it very or somewhat difficult to afford them” in the survey.

In addition to this, the number of adults who think they will not be able to save any money over the next year has also increased. As many as 42% of people said they were unable to save, up from 34% in November.

The data also highlighted an increased difficulty to buy fuel over the past two weeks, with around 20% unable to purchase fuel. This was a sharp increase from 8% earlier this month.

Watch: How does inflation affect interest rates?

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