The price of the weekly shop has already increased by 5.2% in one year and will continue to increase

Grocery prices up 5.2%

Products such as savory snacks, dog food and cat food are rising in price the fastest (Image: Getty)

Shoppers face a double whammy on top of this week’s energy price hikes as the cost of groceries is now 5.2% higher than a year ago.

Grocery price inflation has hit its highest level in a decade in the last four weeks – prompting shoppers to choose cheaper produce and supermarket own brands, while making fewer trips to stores to save on fuel bills.

Prices are rising fastest in markets such as savory snacks, dog food and cat food, with no jumps since April 2012, data company Kantar said.

It also showed that with the return to normal after the Covid pandemic, shoppers are eating out more – particularly among commuters who are returning to offices in larger numbers.

“Increasingly, we will see consumers and retailers taking action to manage the rising cost of grocery baskets,” said Fraser McKevitt, Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insights.

“Private label sales have declined in line with the broader market, but the share of spend on them versus branded has increased to 50.6%, up from 49.9% at this point last year.”

Total sales in the 12 weeks ended March 20 fell 6.3% year over year.

On a two-year basis, they were up 0.7%, although that included the period when shoppers were clearing shelves when the pandemic first hit.

CHEADLE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: A man shops at Asda supermarket on January 04, 2022 in Cheadle, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Consumers are going to the supermarkets less this year, possibly due to higher fuel prices (Image: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, households made an average of 15.4 visits to the supermarket last month, compared with 15.6 trips in March 2021.

Mr McKevitt added: “Higher fuel prices could also play a role here as people try to save on gas by going to the supermarkets less often.”

Aldi and Lidl remained the fastest-growing supermarkets, with sales up 3.6% over the 12-week period from a year earlier.

At the other end of the scale, Asda and Morrisons saw sales fall 9.9% and 11.5%, respectively.

Households leaned on their credit cards last month as consumer credit grew at its fastest pace in two years.

Credit card spending rose to £1.5 billion, compared with the pre-pandemic average of £1 billion, the Bank of England reported.

Thomas Pugh, economist at RSM UK, said the rise was “a sign that high inflation is pushing consumers to borrow to sustain their lifestyle” amid the cost of living crisis.

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Justin Scacco

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