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Food Costs 'Put Financial Pressures On Households'

Dec 16, 2007
Rising food prices are putting increasing financial strain on households, new figures show.

According to data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the expense of food being produced by the likes of bakeries and dairies is running at 6.6 per cent - the highest rate of growth recorded since July 1993.

The office went on to suggest that such costs will be passed on to consumers at the supermarket checkout. And as a result of facing higher grocery bills, it is possible that many more people may struggle in meeting other demands on their finances, for instance home loans, household bills and mortgages.

It was suggested that wheat, vegetables and various dairy products have seen particularly dramatic price increases in recent months. This was largely attributed to the effects of the flooding seen this summer and last year's drought upon crop yields, the Daily Mail reports.

On an international scale, meanwhile, crop levels for animal feed such as soya and maize have fallen, which in turn has led to meat prices surging. Additionally, higher petrol and subsequent transport expenses have also helped to drive food costs up.

In particular, increased grocery costs are having a specific impact upon pensioners and other people who are on a low or fixed-level income. According to the figure, surges in the price of food have outstripped pension rises, with the basic state pension going up by just 3.9 per cent, the equivalent of 3 pounds 40p per week, next year to 90 pounds 70p.

Due to such differences in growth, many consumers may find that any rises their income may experience will be unable to combat surging grocery expenses. In turn, such an essential demand on their spending may well have an impact upon their ability to manage other areas of their finances, such as utility bills and loan repayments. A spokesperson for Help the Aged told the publication: "This situation is leading to unacceptable levels of poverty among pensioners."

However, figures collated by price comparison website Mysupermarket suggested that the ONS study could be underestimating the financial strain that many consumers are feeling. It pointed out that the average large, own-label loaf of white bread sold by supermarkets has gone up by 12.5 per cent, or six pence, over the last year to stand at 54 pence. Meanwhile, the cost of a kilo of own-label spaghetti has gone up by 76 per cent to 79 pence.

Overall, the annual rate of growth for essential foods was put at 12 per cent. In turn, the typical family of four who would have spent 90 pounds per week on food this time last year are now paying out an extra 10 pounds a week - a total increase of 520 pounds a year. As a result, this is a figure that could well impact upon making secured loan and household bill repayments. Johnny Stern from Mysupermarket added: "It's vital that families living on a tight budget seek out special offers to avoid paying over the odds, especially at this time of year."

People concerned about their ability to manage various commitments on their spending, whether this is paying back various credit cards and loans or meeting rising grocery costs, may wish to consider applying for a debt consolidation loan. Such a low cost loan could allow consumers to pay off numerous demands on their finances and so be left with more disposable income.

In addition, shopping around for everyday items may also help many to reduce spending problems. A recent study by Alliance & Leicester indicated that some 16 million consumers are paying too much for basic groceries such as bread and milk. However, just three per cent claim they do not bother to search for competitive offers on flights or expensive electrical products.
About the Author
Mark Dawson writes for Loan-Arrangers .co.uk where visitors can compare cheap UK loans online. Then apply for the best rate secured loans and bad credit loans available.
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