One in three Britons struggling to feed themselves

A Which? survey out today reveals that rising grocery bills are causing real hardship

The rise in the price of food is an extra source of stress for households who are already struggling to make ends meet, new research has revealed.

A survey by the consumer group Which? shows that as incomes stagnate, eight in 10 people in Britain are concerned that food is too expensive, and more than half worry about how they will pay for their groceries in the future if prices continue to climb.

The findings come at a time when the cost of food has grown over and above general inflation by 12.6 percentage points over the last six years, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Since last year, the price of food and alcoholic drinks rose by 3.9 per cent on average. However, in the same period, incomes rose by only 2.1 per cent, with three-quarters of consumers saying their income has stayed the same or decreased in the last year. The result of this is that three in 10 people now struggle to feed themselves or their family.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: "While people seem to have accepted their grocery bill going up, stagnating incomes and rocketing food prices are causing stress and worry, and leaving people wondering how they are going to cope.

"Supermarkets need to make it much easier for consumers to spot the best deal by ensuring pricing is simple, and making special offers genuinely good value for money. Politicians need to put consumers at the heart of their economic policies to tackle the rising cost of living and to support growth and prosperity."

In the organisation's separate monthly consumer tracking survey, one million more households admitted that they are feeling the squeeze compared to a year ago, leaving 9.5 million people struggling with the cost of living.

Chris Mould, executive chair of the Trussell Trust, a charity that provides support and sustenance for those in crisis, said that he has seen a 200 per cent rise in the number of people who needed food banks in the first quarter of this financial year compared to last year.

"The fact that one in three consumers say they struggle to feed themselves is seriously worrying. Food insecurity on this scale across the UK warrants urgent political attention. Until progress is made, the Trussell Trust food banks expect to provide an essential helping hand in times of crisis for an increasing number of people," he said.

This year food replaced essentials such as household bills and car costs, as well as luxuries including holidays, as the top item that people spend their savings on.

The survey released today shows that the average amount spent on the weekly food shop for a household is £60, with couples and those with children shelling out around £80.

Some 86 per cent of people who say they are spending a larger proportion of their disposable income on food report that they are not buying more food, with three in 10 saying that they are in fact buying less. Two-thirds say their overall weekly household bill has increased compared to 12 months ago, with rising food prices mostly being blamed.

Shoppers claim they are feeling the hit mostly in staples such as meat, fresh vegetables and bread.

Katherine Trebeck, policy and advocacy manager for Oxfam's UK programme, described the rise in food prices as "part of a perfect storm of high unemployment, falling real incomes and cuts to public services". She stressed that the Government "urgently needs to improve the social security system so people struggling to afford the basics get the support they need to help them through these testing times".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m