Food Prices Hitting Consumers Hard

August 15/London/Press Association Mediapoint -- U.K. consumers are paying up to 59% more for basic grocery items than they were three years ago, experts warned.

The price of staples such as bread and eggs increased by 18%, and tea is up 30%, according to figures compiled by price comparison website

The cost of rice has increased by 59% since 2007.

It also became increasingly costly to buy meat, with the overall price of products rising by 10%.

However, there are variations, with the cost of bacon increasing by 9%, but the price of chicken and turkey dropping by 6%.

Fish lovers fared even better, with the price of fresh varieties down 8%.

Parents were hit particularly hard as the price of food and products for babies soared. The figures show the price of items like wipes, creams and bath wash are up 38%; baby food and snacks rose by 21%, and baby milk and drinks are up 29%.

Even pets are an increasingly expensive drain on the bank account, with cat food up 13% and dog food rising by 20%.

MySupermarket spokesman Jonny Steel said, "While prices have stabilized or even gone down over the past year, the cost of everyday essentials has still dramatically increased over the last three years.

"Consumers may feel that they are starting to bounce back from the effects of the most recent recession, but effectively, they are forking out up to 59% more for some shopping items than they were three years ago.''

He added, "The Consumer Price Index may now stand at 3.2% and be down 0.2% on the previous month, but this doesn't paint the whole picture.

"This is especially true when you consider the likes of basics such as bread and eggs increasing in cost by 18% over the last three years.

"Shoppers need to make sure they don't become complacent now the recession is over, as the battle to save money is still very much on."

From the August 30, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition