To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle food inflation.
Tackling inflation is this Government’s number one priority, with a plan to more than halve inflation this year, and we are monitoring all key agricultural commodities so that we can work with the food industry to address the challenges they face.
The Government monitors consumer food prices using the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). October 2023 CPI food price inflation reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) was 10.1%, down from 12.1% in September 2023 and the lowest figure since June 2022. Overall CPI inflation dropped to 4.6% in October from 6.7% in September 2023. This is now under half the overall rate recorded by ONS at the start of the year.
Consumer food prices depend on a range of factors including agri-food import prices, domestic agricultural prices, domestic labour and manufacturing costs, and Sterling exchange rates. Some of these factors are influenced by our trading arrangements with other countries.
Through regular engagement, Defra will continue to work with food retailers and producers to explore the range of measures they can take to ensure the availability of affordable food. For example, by maintaining value ranges, price matching and price freezing measures. Some retailers have also introduced incentives for customers, such as new reward cards offering discounts on products or ‘cashback’ on future purchases, and a number of stores are also offering meal deals either in store or within their cafes to help vulnerable groups.