Price inflation in Irish supermarkets now stands at 2.6%, which is the highest point so far this year, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel. The data covers the 12-week period to May 25. In the previous 12-week period to 27 April, grocery market inflation stood at 2.5%, while in the period before that (to 30 March), inflation stood at 1.9%. However, inflation is down from the recent high of 5.8% that was recorded in February 2013. "The market is returning to the natural level of inflation that you'd expect; if we look back, 3% is a good average point over 10-15 years or so," Kantar Worldpanel's David Berry told Retail Intelligence. Berry added that despite the a higher level of inflation, the fact that the overall grocery market is only up by 1.4% indicates that consumers are still seeking to 'trade down'. "Inflation is still growing ahead of the market; inflation is up by 2.6% whereas the market is up by 1.4%, so there's still people choosing to trade down and by cheaper goods. Otherwise the market would be growing at least in line with the level of inflation." Yesterday, it was announced that the KBC Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index fell to 79.4 in May, down from 87.2 in April, its lowest level since November 2013. Commenting, KBC Bank's Austin Hughes said, "The weakness of the May survey is entirely consistent with the poor performance of Government parties in the recent elections."