The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is warning that the price of fruit and vegetables will rise over the next few months as the availability of UK seasonal produce wanes.
Overall food inflation increased 1.3% in August, compared with last year, following a similar increase of 1.2% in July, according to the latest BRC-Nielsen shop price index.
The inflation rate of fresh food slowed a little to 0.8% in August compared with 1.2% in July. However, BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said the seasonal availability of fruit and vegetables from UK suppliers was “currently shielding shoppers from the impact of higher import prices”.
“As winter approaches and our dependence shifts to imported goods, that will change,” she added.
“Therefore, it is imperative that the government puts the UK’s households at the top of its agenda as it enters into negotiations on our future trading relationship with the EU. It should do all it can to avoid a situation where further tariffs and administrative costs lead to price increases on top of those already being faced by consumers.”
Nielsen head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins, said: “Food inflation continues to be kept in check by lower increases in fresh and seasonal foods.
“Whilst consumer sentiment is on the turn and shoppers are becoming cautious about spending on big ticket items, prices are still very competitive on the high street and spend on food and drink has been strong over the summer, albeit disrupted by the changeable weather in August.”