The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that a “bleak” winter may be on the cards as food prices continue to rise.

In food inflation statistics published today (Wednesday, November 30), the BRC revealed that food inflation is at 12.4% this month, up from 11.6% in October.

This is the highest inflation rate on record in the food category, it said.

Fresh-food inflation also strongly accelerated in November to 14.3%, up from 13.3% in October. This is above the three-month average rate of 13.1% and is the highest inflation rate in the fresh food category on record.

Commenting on the rises, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Winter looks increasingly bleak as pressures on prices continue unabated.

“Food prices have continued to soar, especially for meat, eggs and dairy, which have been hit by rocketing energy costs, and rising costs of animal feed and transport.

“While there are signs that cost pressures, and price rises, might start to ease in 2023, Christmas cheer will be dampened this year as households cut back on seasonal spending in order to prioritise the essentials.

“Retailers continue to do all they can to support their customers and ensure everyone can enjoy the festive season by fixing prices of many essentials, offering discounts to vulnerable groups, raising pay for their own people, and expanding their value ranges,” she said.

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight, NielsenIQ, added: “With prices still rising, the cost of Christmas will be higher this year and shoppers will be managing their budgets more closely than at any time since the start of cost-of-living crisis.

“Retailers are now responding by offering seasonal savings and price cuts and will be hopeful of an uptick in shopper spend as we move into December.”