British grocery inflation edged lower in April but remained near record highs, industry data showed recently, providing little relief for consumers being hammered by a cost-of-living crisis.
Market researcher Kantar said grocery inflation was 17.3% in the four weeks to 16 April, down from the record 17.5% in its March data set.
“The latest drop in grocery price inflation will be welcome news for shoppers but it’s too early to call the top," Fraser McKevitt, Kantar's head of retail and consumer insight, said.
"We’ve been here before when the rate fell at the end of 2022, only for it to rise again over the first quarter of this year," he said.
The Kantar data for April provides the most up to date snapshot of UK grocery inflation.
Consumer Price Inflation
Official UK data published last week showed overall consumer price inflation fell to 10.1% in March. However, prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks were 19.1% higher in March than a year earlier, the biggest such rise since August 1977.
The British Retail Consortium, which represents the major supermarket groups, has said it expects consumer food prices to start coming down over the next few months, while the Bank of England has forecast overall inflation will drop to below 4% by the end of the year.
Kantar said UK grocery sales rose 8.1% over the four week period year-on-year.
It said Britons were continuing to turn to supermarkets' own label lines, which are usually cheaper than branded products, to help manage spending.
Own-label sales were up 13.5% year-on-year with the very cheapest value own-label lines up 46%, while branded sales were up 4.4%.
Record Market Shares
Discounters Aldi and Lidl both hit record market shares over the 12 weeks to 16 April, at 10.1% and 7.6% respectively.
Lidl was the fastest growing grocer with sales up 25.1%, while Aldi's rose 25.0%.
“Consumers are continuing to shop around, visiting at least three major retailers every month on average. The discounters have been big beneficiaries of this," added McKevitt.
UK grocers' market share and sales growth (%)
|Market share 12 wks to April 16 2023||Market share 12 wks to April 17 2022||% change in sales (yr-on-yr)|