Ready meals and snacks soar in price at UK supermarkets
8th January 2023

Revealed: How supermarkets have been quietly increasing prices of ready meals and microwave dishes by up to 50% over last year… with Asda chicken hot pot soaring 250% from 85p to £3

  • Shoppers are spending more on snacks and ready meals now than one year ago
  • The prices of convenience foods have surged at most popular grocers
  • Skyrocketing prices come as food inflation jumped to a record 13.3% last month

Supermarkets have been quielty raising the price of ready meals and convience foods by much as 50 per cent over the last year – with one Asda microwave dish rocketing by more than 250 per cent.  

Shoppers are spending more on snack foods and ready made meals as the UK’s cost of living crisis saw food inflation jump to a record 13.3 per cent last month.

The prices of convenience foods have surged at most popular grocers – including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi and Morrisons – over the last year, according to data collected by trolley.co.uk. 

Products with the most significant price hikes saw increases of between 13.4 and 50 per cents from December 2021 to December 2022. 

Skyrocketing food prices come many shoppers are facing the prospect of a tighter squeeze in 2023, with higher taxes and mortgage rates, scaled-back government support on household energy bills and UK inflation running at 10.7 per cent.

Shoppers are spending more on snacks and ready made meals as the UK’s cost of living crisis saw food inflation jump to a record 13.3 per cent last month

Tesco

The five ready meals that saw the highest price rise at Tesco were all Charlie Bigham’s products.

The grocer raised the price of three products from the London-based food manufacturer by 18.8 per cent over the last year.

The Chicken Tikka Masala & Pilau Rice, Thai Red Curry and Spanish Chicken & Roasted Potatoes meals are now £9.50 each – a £1.50 increase since December 2021.

The store is also selling Charlie Bigham’s Fish Pie and Cottage Pie for £9.50. The pies previously sold for £8.25, meaning they increased in price by 15.2 per cent last year.



Charlie Bigham’s Chicken Tikka Masala & Pilau Rice, Thai Red Curry and Spanish Chicken & Roasted Potatoes meals are now £9.50 each at Tesco – a £1.50 increase since December 2021


The store is also selling Charlie Bigham’s Fish Pie and Cottage Pie for £9.50. The pies previously sold for £8.25, meaning they increased in price by 15.2 per cent last year

Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s raised the price of its Slow Cooked British Pork Ribs Smokey BBQ Sauce ready meal by nearly 50 per cent.

The two-serving product is now selling for £6.25, a £2.00 – or 47.1 per cent – increase since 2021.

The grocer’s Slow Cooked British Pork Ribs with Spicy Firecracker Glaze, which also serves two, shot up by £1.50 to £6.25. 

Sainsbury’s – which also sells Charlie Bigham’s products – increased the prices on three of the manufacturer’s ready meals. 

The cost of the Charlie Bigham’s Cottage Pie (325g), Cottage Pie (650g) and Moussaka for 2 rose by 33.3 per cent, 22.6 per cent and 20.6 per cent, respectively.

Sainsbury’s Slow Cooked British Pork Ribs with Spicy Firecracker Glaze, which also serves two, shot up by £1.50 to £6.25



The cost of the Charlie Bigham’s Cottage Pie (325g), Cottage Pie (650g) and Moussaka for 2 rose by 33.3 per cent, 22.6 per cent and 20.6 per cent, respectively

Asda

The most shocking price rises were found at Asda, which increased the selling point for its Chicken Hotpot ready meal from £0.85 to £3.00.

The product saw a 252.9 per cent price rise over the course of a year.

Asda also rose the price of its Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Jalfrezi and Chicken Bhuna ready meals by 50 per cent. The products are now being sold for £3.75 each.

The supermarket’s Indian Chicken Korma and Chicken Tikka Masala Meal for 2 is now sold for £8.25. Last year, it was 17.9 per cent less at £7 per item.

The most shocking price rises were found at Asda, which increased the selling point for its Chicken Hotpot ready meal from £0.85 to £3.00. The product saw a 252.9 per cent price rise over the course of a year



Asda also rose the price of its Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Jalfrezi and Chicken Bhuna ready meals by 50 per cent. The products are now being sold for £3.75 each

The supermarket’s Indian Chicken Korma and Chicken Tikka Masala Meal for 2 is now sold for £8.25. Last year, it was 17.9 per cent less at £7 per item

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Aldi

Aldi raised the prices of several popular snacks over the last year from pies to dahl and bread sauce.

The supermarket’s largest price hike was that of its Specially Selected Rich & Delicious 6 Steak & Ale 6 Chicken & Ham Mini Pies Topped With Buttery Golden Puff Pastry.

The product’s price point rose by 33.4 per cent to £3.99 between December 2021 and last month.

Aldi Specially Selected Specially Selected Mini Beef Wellingtons saw an 80p – or 25.1 per cent – rise from £3.19 to £3.99.

The Snacksters Big Stack and Specially Selected Bread Sauce saw price hikes of 20.1 per cent and 13.4 per cent, respectively.

Aldi’s Plant Menu Coconut & Apple Dhal also increased in price from £1.49 to £1.75.

Aldi’s argest price hike was that of its Specially Selected Rich & Delicious 6 Steak & Ale 6 Chicken & Ham Mini Pies Topped With Buttery Golden Puff Pastry. The product’s price point rose by 33.4 per cent to £3.99 between December 2021 and last month


Aldi Specially Selected Specially Selected Mini Beef Wellingtons saw an 80p – or 25.1 per cent – rise from £3.19 to £3.99. Aldi’s Plant Menu Coconut & Apple Dhal also increased in price from £1.49 to £1.75


The Snacksters Big Stack and Specially Selected Bread Sauce saw price hikes of 20.1 per cent and 13.4 per cent, respectively

Morrisons 

Like the other grocers carrying Charlie Bigham’s products, Morrisons also hiked up the prices of three items produced by the brand.

The Charlie Bigham’s Lasagne and Macaroni Cheese surged by 49.8 per cent. The Fish Pie increased by 35.6 per cent to £9.49.

Morrisons increased the price of its own Salmon Smoked Haddock & King Prawn Fish Pie. The product now sells for £6.99.

Last year, the pie was 39.8 per cent cheaper.


The Charlie Bigham’s Lasagne and Macaroni Cheese surged by 49.8 per cent


The Charlie Bigham’s Fish Pie increased by 35.6 per cent to £9.49. Morrisons also increased the price of its own Salmon Smoked Haddock & King Prawn Fish Pie

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UK food prices soared to record rates in December, according to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Food inflation accelerated to 13.3 per cent in December after having been 12.4 per cent in November. 

The BRC claims December’s food inflation rate is the highest monthly rate on record since the firm began collecting data in 2005.

The three-month average food inflation rate was 12.5 per cent.  

But despite soaring food inflation, British households spent more than £12billion on groceries over Christmas – the highest amount on record, new figures show.

The total value of sales has risen because of the increasing cost of food and drink, rather than because people are spending more, according to Kantar’s monthly monitor.

In fact, the volume of sales was down by 1 per cent over December, compared with the same period last year, indicating that shoppers are facing a much more expensive grocery shop, Kantar said. 

Despite soaring food inflation, British households spent more than £12billion on groceries over Christmas – the highest amount on record, new figures show 

Sales of stores’ own brands surged by 13.3 per cent last month, compared with a 4.7 per cent rise in branded lines.

Many retailers also increased their ranges of premium own-label products over Christmas, with sales of those lines growing by 10.2 per cent and hitting more than £700million in total for the first time.

Tesco’s Finest range came out on top in terms of sales, while Aldi and Lidl enjoyed significant growth in their premium own-labels.

Meanwhile, the supermarket giants continue to dominate spending for UK shoppers, with Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons accounting for more than two-thirds of all spending.

Aldi also held on to its title of fastest-growing grocer, enjoying a 27 per cent surge in year-on-year sales and taking its share of the market to 9.1 per cent, from 7.7 per cent this time last year.

But the cost-of-living crisis isn’t just impacting food prices. Britons are also battling with soaring energy bills, housing and fuel costs.

Gas and electricity costs are unlikely to return to ‘normal’ until the 2030s, according to analysis from industry experts Cornwall Insight.

The average annual bill is set to rise from £2,500 to £3,000 in April, which means families and businesses will be paying more next winter. 

A drop in global gas prices means typical annual bills will drop to £2,800 from the start of July, below the government cap of £3,000 per year

The Government’s energy price guarantee scheme, which protects households against the worst of the wholesale price increases, is due to lapse in the spring of 2024

Household spending on energy bills is expected to reach a record high as retail prices rise further and Government support is scaled back

Fitness coach shares the nutrient women don’t get enough of at breakfast: Click here to read how you can boost your intake now

 

 

Analysts said the price would be as high as £4,174 if the figure was linked to international wholesale prices and not limited by the Government’s energy price guarantee.

Experts added that the total cost of the guarantee, which was introduced in October, is on course to cost as much as £47billion over 18 months.

Although this will be added to government borrowing, Cornwall Insight warned the cost will have to be paid back by taxpayers over the coming decades.

Analysts also said that surging bills can be directly linked to Vladimir’s Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the UK’s decision to stop buying Russian gas and oil.

This means Britain has become more reliant on imports of expensive gas from Norway and through shipments of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from America, the Middle East and parts of Africa.

First-time buyers may also find that getting approved for a mortgage is more difficult, as higher interest rates combine with the cost-of-living crisis and higher rents to putting additional pressure on household finances.

Currently the average two-year fixed rate mortgage across all LTVs is 5.78 per cent and with the average five-year fix at 5.62 per cent. A year ago they were 2.65 per cent and 2.88 per cent, respectively.

The rapid rise in rates has also had an impact on those looking to remortgage. Remortgaging approvals fell 37 per cent in November compared to the previous month, and down 30 per cent compared to November 2021.

Half of UK homeowners are on a fixed rate mortgage ending within the next two years. While rates are now falling from their Autumn highs, many of these borrowers are still likely to see their monthly payments rise significantly – at a time when incomes are already stretched.

Rapidly rising interest rates in 2022 will feed through into higher mortgage costs next year, as around two million households move onto new fixed-rate deals. 

The Bank of England estimates total monthly mortgage payments will rise from £750 to £1,000. 

Rapidly rising interest rates in 2022 will feed through into higher mortgage costs next year, as around two million households move onto new fixed-rate deals

Mortgage rates rose rapidly last year in the wake of the disastrous ‘mini-Budget’ in September

Similarly, motorists are preparing 12p a litre hike in the price of petrol and diesel this spring by the UK’s spending watchdog.

The Office for Budget Responsibility is planning a 23 per cent increase in the fuel duty rate’ in late March.

Officials said the hike would add £5.7billion to Government receipts next year and represent a ‘record cash increase’.

Analysts at FairFuelUK predict the fuel tax increase will cause economic damage by adding 2.3 per cent to inflation, cutting the GDP by 1 per cent and result in 31,000 job losses.

They also allege the hike will ‘disastrously hurt’ drivers outside of London who spend twice as much on petrol than those residing in the capital.

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