Family mealtimes turned into ‘nightmare’ as cost of favourites such as spag bol & fish fingers soar by 27%
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Family mealtimes have been turned into an expensive “nightmare” after the cost of dishing up reliable favourites such as fish fingers and spaghetti bolognese surged in cost by a quarter. Eating out is expensive at the best of times but “massive price hikes” on every day items mean families are now struggling to serve up homemade meals.
Consumer watchdog Which? analysed the prices of almost 26,000 food and drink products last month for its inflation tracker at eight major supermarkets. These include Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
Their research found the price of ingredients to make pasta bake for four people has soared from £2.68 (67p per portion) in the three months to the end of May last year, to £3.39 (85p per portion) for the same period this year. This is an increase of 27 per cent.
Meanwhile, a fish finger tea with chips and beans went from £3.06 (76p per portion) to £3.79 (95p per portion) – an increase of 24 per cent. Spaghetti bolognese went up from £5.53 on average (£1.38 per portion) in the three months to the end of last May to £6.63 (£1.65 per portion) this year – or an extra 20 per cent on average across the eight supermarkets.
Even the cost of a Sunday lunch has increased by 13 per cent since this time last year. Which? said the examples of “massive price hikes” on every day ingredients showed how difficult it had become for households, particularly those on low incomes, to feed their families.
Which? found that, despite generally being the cheapest option, inflation on value ranges far outstrips other foods. Inflation on own-label budget goods continued to increase from 25 per cent in April to 26.6 per cent in May according to the tracker - higher than regular own brands (19.1 per cent), premium own brands (12.9 per cent) and branded food and drink (13.2 per cent).
Sue Davies, Which? head of food policy, said: “The cost of food during this period of economic uncertainty has turned the pleasure of mealtimes with loved ones into a nightmare for the millions that are struggling to afford food.
“Supermarkets must put their customers first by stocking budget lines in all of their stores, including convenience stores, to ensure easy access to basic, affordable food ranges as well as provide transparent pricing so people can easily work out which products offer the best value.
“Official inflation data due out next week is still expected to show food prices at an elevated level. If supermarkets can’t do the right thing by their customers, it’s time for the government to take action.”