UK food inflation doubles in a month - Kantar Worldpanel

LONDON (Reuters) - British food inflation has doubled since last month, with the price of staples including butter, tea, lamb and fish all rising, industry data showed on Tuesday, adding to evidence that the impact of last year’s Brexit vote is pushing up shoppers’ bills.

A shopping trolley is pushed around a Morrisons store in Coalville, central England September 10, 2009. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Market researcher Kantar Worldpanel said grocery inflation was 1.4 percent for the 12 weeks to Feb. 26, up from 0.7 percent in the 12 weeks to Jan. 29.

Food prices have been rising in Britain since the 12 weeks to Jan 1, bringing to an end a more than two-year period when prices fell.

Separately on Tuesday two other surveys showed British consumers cutting back on non-essential spending as the impact of the depreciation of sterling on import costs following last year’s decision to leave the European Union pushes up the cost of their day-to-day shopping.

“Staples such as butter, tea and fish all saw prices rise by more than 5 percent during the past 12 weeks, as fruit and vegetables – many of which are imported – also saw an uptick in price,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel.

However, he pointed out that inflation is still far from universal, with prices falling across a number of categories including crisps, bacon and eggs.

“While consumers may be starting to feel a very slight pinch, increased inflation has led to overall market growth,” said McKevitt.

Overall grocery sales in the 12 weeks to Feb. 26 period rose 2.3 percent - the fastest rate since June 2014.

Sales at market leader Tesco were up 0.6 percent, a sixth period in a row of increased sales. They were up 0.3 percent at No. 2 supermarket Sainsbury’s, its first growth since March last year.

And sales were up 2.6 percent at No. 4, Morrisons, its fastest growth in five years. But No. 3 supermarket Asda saw its sales fall 0.8 percent - still a significant improvement and its best performance since November 2014.

Discounter Lidl [LIDUK.UL} was Britain’s fastest growing supermarket during the 12 weeks with sales up by 13.0 percent, while rival Aldi [ALDIEI.UL] grew sales by 12.9 percent to reach a record market share of 6.3 percent.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton