Desperate families already hit by soaring energy bills could see the price of groceries rise by £1,000 a year, a retail expert warns.
Clive Black said a disastrous combination of inflation, the war in Ukraine and the aftermath of Covid-19 is starting to have a serious impact on Britons’ wallets.
Mr Black said food prices have risen by up to 12%, putting the average family’s food shop of £150-£200 up by around £20 a week.
The steep rise adds up to more than £1,000 over a year – and those on low incomes will suffer most.
Mr Black, who is an analyst with investment group Shore Capital, said: “We’re only a couple of weeks into the real cost-of-living squeeze and it’s getting worse. If we have a harvest failure, the price of things like bread could go up a lot more.
“I don’t think there will be a shortage of food but we could see prices going a lot higher and some rationing.
People on lower incomes will suffer due to the current crisis
AFP via Getty Images)
“Those on the lowest incomes will be squeezed most.”
He said the pinch would continue until the conflict in Ukraine ends – which some experts believe could take years.
Ukraine provides 70% of Europe’s sunflower oil and supplies have been devastated by Russia ’s invasion.
Shoppers are restricted to two bottles of sunflower oil in Waitrose and Morrisons, while Tesco set its limit to three to prevent panic-buying.
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The cost of one-litre bottles of own-brand sunflower oil has gone up by around 12p to £1.26 since January and there has been a 38p increase for five-litre bottles.
Iceland boss Richard Walker, pictured above, says products with sunflower oil will be reverting to palm oil – which his firm has phased out to fight deforestation.
Chippies are also taking a battering but Andrew Crook, president of the National Federation of Fish Shops, blamed it on rationing. He said: “A lot of our suppliers, just like with the fish, have stopped us bulk-buying.”