Supermarket price wars and the falling cost of petrol last month helped push inflation down further from its peak, official figures revealed today.
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate of inflation fell to 4.8% in November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, compared to 5% the previous month.
The cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks rose at its lowest rate since July 2010 after supermarkets launched aggressive price wars and a strong harvest saw the price of fresh vegetables and bread fall.
A 1p per litre fall in the cost of petrol between October and November also helped ease the burden on cash-strapped consumers who had been hit by 1.8p rise a year ago.
And the warm weather during the month prompted retailers to put on promotions on clothes to drum up trade, with coats and jumpers seeing falls in prices.
But a utility tariff hike from big six supplier EDF continued to pile pressure on consumers, who are still struggling to cope with average wage growth far below the rate of inflation.
The cost of alcohol and tobacco also saw a record rise for an October to November period, mainly driven by red wine price hikes.
Inflation peaked at a three-year high of 5.2% in September and the Bank of England expects it to fall back to its 2% target over the next two years.
Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said: "November's UK inflation figures provide further hope that inflation has now passed its peak and could soon fall pretty sharply.
"There is still a lingering risk that inflation picks up again in December, but come January - when the VAT rise drops out - it should start to fall like a stone."
She believes that CPI will be below its target by the autumn, before "dropping to 1% or lower".
Tesco triggered a price war with its rivals in October with its £500 million Big Price Drop campaign, which saw the cost of 3,000 everyday products cut.
Competitors soon responded with their own schemes, including Sainsbury's Brand Match campaign, while Asda slashed prices at the petrol pumps.
As well as supermarket discounting, food price inflation also benefited from weaker comparatives from last year when poor harvests and supply problems drove up the cost of cereals, particularly bread.
Cereals and bread fell by a near-record 1% in the month, compared to a 1.9% hike a year ago. The price of vegetables fell 1% between October and November, its largest fall over this period for 10 years.
There was also a fall in the price of sugar, jams, chocolate and confectionery.
A Treasury spokesperson said: "Price inflation came down in November and that is good news for family budgets.
"The Bank of England and other forecasters expect inflation to keep falling over the coming year, which will provide additional relief.
"The Government is doing its bit to help families with the cost of living, including by freezing council tax and cutting fuel duty at the Autumn Statement last month."