The price of bread, milk and butter has gone up by 10-30 cent in recent weeks and while such increases seem modest, they mean a family buying three sliced pans, 10 litres of milk and one 454g packet of butter weekly will be worse off by just under €100 this year compared with 2021.
Increases across our supermarkets are not, by any means, confined to these staples and up and down the aisles prices have been climbing steadily for months with consumers left to pick up the tab.
If the cost of an average weekly shop has climbed by just €15 – and for many people it will climb by more than that – groceries will cost €780 more over the course of the next 12 months. But that is only the starting point.
As has been well documented, the annual cost of utility bills has jumped by in excess of €500 while a litre of petrol or diesel is now at least 40 cent more than this time last year, which means that an average motorist will have to spend an extra €500 to keep their car on the road.
Totted up, the increases in those three areas alone comes close to €2,000, a figure which is net so people will need to earn about €4,000 simply to cover the cost of eating, heating, lighting and driving in 2022.
While retail analysts Kantar have put grocery market inflation at 1.2 per cent for the 12-week period up to December 26th, the highest level of inflation recorded since February 2021, figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) paint a more stark picture.
According to official data published earlier this week, consumer prices rose by 5.5 per cent in the year to December, the largest jump in 20 years.
The CSO research suggests that the price of bread has climbed by 5.3 per cent over the past 12 months while pasta has gone up by 6.4 per cent. Poultry has increased by 3.5 per cent. Coffee and tea have climbed in price by 2.5 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively while the “oils and fats” category including butter, vegetable oils and olive oil has jumped by 4.4 per cent.
These increases are annual but many of the price jumps have been recorded in the last month.
There will be more price hikes coming down the tracks. “We are still seeing the impact of Brexit, Covid and other supply chain issues and they will be washing through the system for much of this year,” said retail expert and TU Dublin academic, Damien O’Reilly.
Many of the increases have been replicated to the cent across the Irish grocery landscape, thanks at least in part to the practice of price matching that is a key policy adopted by the State’s leading supermarkets.
When asked about price increases, a Lidl spokeswoman said it was doing “everything possible to keep the price paid by our customers to a minimum” and said any prices increases would be as a last resort.
However, she pointed to “rising inflation, increasing energy and raw materials costs and fuel cost increases of up to 30 per cent” and said “as with all retailers, these external factors have had an impact on the price of a small number of products”.
Aldi Ireland’s buying director, John Curtin, said the “costs of ingredients and commodities have increased significantly”, but stressed it had been “working hard with our suppliers to mitigate supply chain cost rises and shield our customers from price increases”.
Tesco said it was working “collaboratively with our suppliers to minimise impacts” but a spokeswoman confirmed that “commodity price increases, changes to input costs and the impact of global demand” could lead to price increases.
SuperValu said it was “working hard” with suppliers to “ensure we continue to deliver the best value” and it warned that with food retail inflation rising “consumers may start to see price increases in certain products”.
Dunnes Stores did not respond to queries from The Irish Times.