How cost of a family shopping basket has changed since pandemic began

Revealed: Household staples including organic eggs and sausages that have shot up since start of pandemic – how much has the cost of your shopping basket soared?

  • Analysis by MailOnline compares Tesco and Sainsbury’s shopping baskets in March 2020 to today’s prices
  • Products that have gone up in cost include mushrooms, spring onions, cabbage, salmon, soup and kiwi fruit
  • However others have dropped in cost including yoghurts, peppers, bacon, bananas, broccoli and potatoes
  • Iceland chief executive Richard Walker says rising wages and bills will soon be reflected in grocery shopping

Foods from pasta to eggs and chipolatas to chopped tomatoes have risen in price at supermarkets since the pandemic began, as hard-up British families face spiralling costs of living amid the threat of rising inflation.

Analysis by MailOnline of prices today compared to those in March 2020 found other goods that have gone up in cost include mushrooms, spring onions, cabbage, salmon, soup, kiwi fruit, apples and mineral water.

However the price of a range of other foods has fallen over the same time, including yoghurts, peppers, bacon, bananas, broccoli, potatoes and aubergines – as well as toilet paper and laundry liquid, according to the research.

The study compared 53 items from a Tesco shop delivered on March 7, 2020 – which revealed 12 items have since gone up in price, 18 down and 23 unchanged. Overall, the total cost of the 53 items was down by £1.35.

Among the biggest price rises are the Tesco Mixed Sized Organic Eggs Six-Pack, up by 55p to £1.80; Tesco Finest 12 Pork British Chipolatas 375g, up by 60p to £2.60; and the Tesco Braeburn Apples Five-Pack, up by 91p to £1.60.

But many of the items at Tesco which have gone down in price are now marked ‘Aldi price match’ – a range now extended to 650 products to fight off the budget supermarket – or are special ‘Clubcard prices’ for its cardholders.

The study also looked at 45 items in a Sainsbury’s shop delivered on March 10, 2020 which found 12 of them have since gone up, 17 down and 16 unchanged. Overall, the total cost of the 45 items had gone down by 69p. 

Among Sainsbury’s own products which have risen are the Large Kiwi Fruit, up by 24p to 50p; Boneless Scottish Salmon Fillet 600g, up by 50p to £8.50; while its Kids Caledonian Still Water 6x300ml, up by 10p to £1.10.  

It comes as Iceland boss Richard Walker told the Financial Times that rising wages and bills would soon be reflected in grocery shopping, and warned of a 9 per cent rise in the price of four pints of milk at his stores.  

Concerns over growing inflationary pressure mounted today as a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce found more British manufacturers plan to raise their prices than at any other point in the past three decades. 

The net balance of factory firms expecting to hike their prices rose to +60 per cent in its latest quarterly survey, up from +57 per cent in the second quarter and the highest since the survey began in 1989.

The share of services firms planning price increases was the highest since 2008 at 38 per cent. It comes after the Consumer Prices Index measure of inflation rose to a record 3.2 per cent in the year to August.

The Bank of England is watching for signs that the recent rise in inflation might prove longer-lasting than it has forecast, and has said the case for a first rate hike since the onset of the pandemic appears to be strengthening.

The results from the BCC study and other reports and surveys in recent days suggest families are set for rising costs this Christmas as they prepare for what is already the most expensive time of the year.

A raft of major companies have warned of inflationary pressures due to labour shortages, rising energy costs and gaps in global supply chains, including Greggs, Hotel Chocolat, and consumer goods giants Unilever and Reckitt.

Greggs published its results yesterday and warned that despite encouraging sales figures it was facing higher costs due to shortages of staff and food ingredients.

Hotel Chocolat – which has more than a hundred shops in the UK – said prices for customers would rise up to 9 per cent over most of its range due to more expensive ingredients, labour and transport.

How a Sainsbury’s shop compares to pre-Covid 

MailOnline looked at 45 items in a Sainsbury’s shop which was delivered on March 10, 2020. Since then:

  • 12 items have gone up in price (total of £5.14)
  • 17 items have gone down in price (total of £5.83)
  • 16 items are unchanged in price 

The 12 items that have gone up in price are:

  • Ecover Laundry Liquid, Delicate 750ml (16 Washes) – up by £1.50
  • Sainsbury’s Oak Smoked Scottish Salmon, Taste the Difference 100g – up by 10p
  • Yorkshire Gold Tea Bags x160 – up by £1.25
  • Heinz Mulligatawny Soup 400g – up by 5p
  • Sainsbury’s Large Kiwi Fruit – up by 24p
  • Sainsbury’s Braeburn Apples x6 – up by 25p
  • Lindt Excellence Dark 70% Cocoa Chocolate Bar 100g – up by 50p
  • Birds Eye Cod Fish Fingers x30 840g – up by 50p
  • Sainsbury’s Sponge Scourer x6 – up by 5p
  • Sainsbury’s Boneless Scottish Salmon Fillet 600g – up by 50p
  • Sainsbury’s Kids Caledonian Still Water 6x300ml – up by 10p
  • Sainsbury’s Oranges, Family Size x10 – up by 10p

The 17 items that have gone down in price are:

  • Sainsbury’s Large Whole Cucumber – down by 5p
  • Sainsbury’s Mixed Peppers (Colours may vary) x3 – down by 1p
  • Sainsbury’s Super Soft Toilet Tissue, Pure White x9 Rolls – down by 30p
  • Sainsbury’s Dishwasher Rinse Aid Lemon 400ml – down by 25p
  • Sainsbury’s Woodland Free Range Large Eggs, SO Organic x6 – down by 25p
  • Sainsbury’s Plain Chocolate Digestive Biscuits 400g – down by 5p
  • Persil Bio Laundry Liquid 1.43L – down by £1.50
  • Sainsbury’s British Semi Skimmed Milk, SO Organic 2.27L (4 pint) – down by 20p
  • Sainsbury’s Aubergine – down by 1p
  • Sainsbury’s Fairtrade Bananas x5 – down by 31p
  • Sainsbury’s All In One Dishwasher Tablets, Lemon x60 – down by 50p
  • Persil Bio Laundry Liquid Colour 1.43L – down by £1.50
  • Sainsbury’s Spinach, Watercress & Rocket Salad 80g – down by 5p
  • Sainsbury’s Carrots 1kg – down by 20p
  • Sainsbury’s Washing Up Liquid, Original 450ml – down by 10p
  • Sainsbury’s Washing Up Liquid, Original 740ml – down by 15p
  • Sainsbury’s Tie Handle Refuse Sacks x20 – down by 45p

Exclusive research for the Daily Mail by the Centre for Economics and Business Research reveals how inflation will cost the typical family of four an extra £1,800 by the end of this year, while a retired couple can expect to see living costs rise by more than £1,100, and a lower income couple could be stung by nearly £900.

Meanwhile, a Money Mail poll today revealed that one in two households have already started making cutbacks due to concerns over the rising cost of living.

Families who have already endured Covid-related uncertainty over last 18 months now face a triple-blow of rising energy bills, soaring food prices and incoming tax hikes.

But while many Britons are fear a financial hit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday insisted that he is not worried about rising prices because he believes they will be temporary, and insisted it is ‘not his job’ to fix every aspect of supply chains in the UK.

Asked about the situation during the Conservative Party conference, he told the BBC: ‘Actually I think that people have been worried about inflation for a long time and it hasn’t materialised.’

When pressed on the UK’s HGV driver shortage he attempted to deflect attention back to the private sector, saying ‘it’s not the job of government to come in and try and fix every problem in business and industry’.

Referencing Margaret Thatcher’s 1980s dictum – which ironically she used to stress the need to control inflation in a market economy – Mr Johnson said: ‘In a famous phrase, there is no alternative. There is no alternative.

‘The UK has got to – and we can – do much, much better by becoming a higher-wage, higher-productivity economy.’

But he admitted that Christmas might only be better from a ‘low base’ amid fears of ongoing shortages – after it was effectively cancelled during the pandemic last year.

Furious business chiefs accused the Prime Minister of ‘buck-passing’, while cabinet ministers told MailOnline they were concerned about ‘complacency’ creeping in over inflation.

In a stark warning of the bumpy road ahead this winter, the Bank has already flagged that inflation could hit 4 per cent by the end of the year, while supermarkets say food prices could increase by 5 per cent. The Bank’s own target is 2 per cent.

The energy price cap has now also increased, pushing up bills for more than 15million households by an average of close to £140 a year.

And the soaring cost of wholesale gas has seen many suppliers go bust – forcing millions of customers on cheap deals onto more expensive tariffs linked to the price cap.

Meanwhile, new figures show pump prices have hit 136.10p per litre, the highest level since September 2013.

As living costs soar across the country, consumer polls suggest as many as half of Britons have already started cutting back, fearing they may have to penny-pinch now in order to save up for what could be a pricey Christmas.

Others have started shopping early – hoping to beat the price rises – with Aldi’s already selling 1,500 frozen turkey crowns a day, while Christmas pudding sales are up 45 per cent. 

A survey, carried out by Consumer Intelligence, found many had started to scale back spending within the last one to three months — with most fearing rising food and energy prices.

Meanwhile, analysis of price rises in the last year alone shows the cost of a second-hand car has risen more than £1,600, a tank of fuel is up more than £10, the price of a pint of beer is creeping close to £4 and a bottle of prosecco has risen 55p to £8.

The new month of October also marked the end of the furlough salary support scheme as well as the withdrawal of an extra £20-a-week for struggling households receiving Universal Credit.

Meanwhile polling for Ipsos Mori has found 75 per cent of people are worried about festive panic-buying, driver shortages and inflation.

How a Tesco shop compares to pre-Covid 

MailOnline looked at 53 items in a Tesco shop which was delivered on March 7, 2020. Since then:

  • 12 items have gone up in price (total of £3.72)
  • 18 items have gone down in price (total of £5.07)
  • 23 items are unchanged in price

The 12 items that have gone up in price are:

  • Di Martino Fusillata Casareccia 500G – up by 15p
  • Di Martino Fusil Corti Coloured Buco Pasta 500G – up by 15p
  • Redmere Farms Unpeeled Sprouts 500G – up by 16p
  • Tesco Braeburn Apple Minimum 5 Pack – up by 91p
  • Tesco Closed Cup Mushrooms 300G – up by 24p
  • Tesco Bunched Spring Onions 100G – up by 8p
  • Tesco Mixed Sized Organic Eggs 6 Pack – up by 55p
  • Buxton Sparkling Mineral Water 8 X 500 Ml Pack – up by 60p
  • Tesco Finest 12 Pork British Chipolatas 375G – up by 60p
  • Tesco Italian Finely Chopped Tomatoes 400G – up by 2p
  • Tesco Spirali Pasta 500G – up by 5p
  • Redmere Farms Cabbage – up by 21p

The 18 items that have gone down in price are:

  • Muller Light Rhubarb Crumble & Custard Yogurt 160G – down by 10p
  • Muller Light Toffee Yogurt 160G – down by 10p
  • Muller Light Cherry Yogurt 160G – down by 10p 
  • Nightingale Farms Peppers 375G – down by 13p
  • Heinz Hoops No Added Sugar 205G – down by 5p
  • Nightingale Farms Baby Plum Tomatoes 250G – down by 7p 
  • Woodside Farms Unsmoked Back Bacon 300G – down by 14p
  • The Collective Suckies Peach Apricot Yogurt 100G – down by 15p
  • The Collective Suckies Strawberry Yogurt 100G – down by 15p
  • Total 0% Fat Greek Yogurt 1Kg – down by £1
  • Tesco Bananas Loose – down by 5p
  • Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce 150Ml – down by 10p
  • Lindt Excellence Touch Of Sea Salt Chocolate Bar 100G – down by 50p
  • Tesco Maris Piper Potatoes 2.5Kg – down by 80p
  • Tesco Broccoli Loose – down by 32p
  • Fresh & Naked Spinach 125G – down by 10p 
  • Mini Babybel Light Cheese 12 Pack, 240G – down by 46p 
  • Jacobs Mini Cheddars Snacks 12 X 25G – down by 75p 

Bridget Williams, Ipsos Mori’s research director, said: ‘Despite Boris Johnson’s plans to ‘save Christmas’, the majority of people are currently concerned about the impact of all these crises on Christmas this year.’

Families are also facing a smaller range of toys because of supply issues. Gary Grant, of toy store chain The Entertainer, warned that prices were rising.

He added: ‘We definitely have inflationary pressures coming through that could be as bad as the 1970s. I’ve been selling toys for 40 years and we’ve never had a period of inflationary pressures that we’re now facing.’

Arguing the Prime Minister had no handle on the issues, he told The Times: ‘It just shows a complete misunderstanding of what’s actually going on in the country.

‘Invest in your people, train your people.’ Yeah, we’re doing all of that. But we want more people.’

Kiran Shah of toy firm Character Group said deliveries were already out of sync for Christmas. He added: ‘We just don’t have sufficient goods to supply. Freight rates and shipping costs are through the roof.’

He said Character would try to hire temporary staff in November to turn around the toys and get them to retailers fast enough for Christmas. But he warned workers were harder to find and more expensive to hire.

Costs would have to be passed on to consumers, he explained.

Jonathan Goldstein of Cain International, which owns the restaurant chain Prezzo, said: ‘The Government needs a strategy as to how the economy is going to source the right labour at the right levels to ensure that there is not significant inflation, driven by wage inflation – and the more the Government is in denial about it, the more this problem is going to continue.’

This week, Rishi Sunak has joined Boris Johnson in dismissing concerns about inflation. The pair insisted they were not worried about rising prices or the possibility of increase rate hikes. 

Mr Johnson said fears of 1970s-style inflation were unfounded.

‘I don’t think the problem will present itself in that way,’ the Prime Minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday. ‘This country’s natural ability to sort out its logistics and supply chains is very strong.’

He added that ‘people have been worried about inflation for a long time and it hasn’t materialised’.

At a Taxpayers’ Alliance event at Conservative Party Conference, when asked if he was concerned about inflation the Chancellor said: ‘The thesis is that the inflation pressures that we’re seeing are transitory and they’ll work their way through the system.’

Mr Sunak said Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) figures showed a one per cent rise in interest rates would cost the government around £20billion in increased debt repayments.

‘It’s extraordinary large sums of money, it is half of the schools budget to put it in context,’ he added. ‘So that’s what we have to be watchful of, which is why it’s important that we are disciplined.’ 

Tesco declined to comment on MailOnline’s study today, although sources at the supermarket said they were working with suppliers to ensure prices would be kept down for customers in the coming months. 

A Sainsbury’s spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We’re committed to offering our customers the best possible quality and value, every time they shop with us.’

Earlier this year the chain launched its ‘Sainsbury’s Quality Aldi Price Match commitment’ alongside its existing ‘Price Lock’ policy.

Some of the products in the baskets examined by MailOnline could have been on sale when purchased in March 2020, although the receipts from then do not indicate whether this is the case. 

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