Annual household food bills have shot up by £1,000 in three years

Annual household food bills will have increased 30 per cent in three years by summer, according to new analysis from a leading think-tank.

Figures from the Resolution Foundation show that by July, the increase to the amount families are spending on food since 2019-20 will hit £1,000 per year – a bigger jump than increases in energy bills.

Energy prices are set to fall back in July when the Ofgem price cap is set to fall, meaning the bill for our gas and electricity will be around £900 a year higher per household than it was before the pandemic.

But food costs are continuing to climb upwards even as gas and electricity costs fall back, meaning they will overtake them as “the biggest threat to family finances”, the Resolution Foundation has said.

And the think-tank’s new report, Food for thought, says that the combination of rises in the two areas is “toxic” for low-income households, as they are essentials that make up a high proportion of their spending.

The report adds that though more well-off families can protect themselves from food price rises by switching to buying cheaper foods, poorer households cannot.

“If you’re already buying own-brand essentials at the supermarket, you can’t trade down to a cheaper alternative,” the report states.

And it adds that poorer families instead look to eat less, with data from the Office for National Statistics showing that three-fifths of the poorest households have reported cutting back on food.

creases has been understood in Westminster”.

“This summer the food price shock to family finances is set to overtake that from energy bills. What remains consistent is that those on low-to-middle incomes are worst affected,” she said.

“The cost of living crisis isn’t ending, it’s just entering a new phase.” There are 28 million households in the UK, with an average of between two and three people in them.

Average spend on food per household was £3,300 back in 2019-20, so the £1,000 rise equates to an increase of over 30 per cent.

Data released next Wednesday is expected to show the first significant fall in inflation since the cost of living crisis began, with an increase in energy prices last year set to drop out of the annual inflation calculation.

And next Thursday, it is set to be confirmed that energy prices will fall from July, as the Ofgem price cap is lowered, which should reduce inflation further later this year.

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