The latest inflation figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have shown the highest inflation rate in the food category on record.

This further cements what Kantar said at the beginning of the week, that UK grocery inflation is at its highest level since it started tracking the figure in 2008.

According to the BRC, food inflation rose to 13.8% in January 2023, which is up from the previous record high of 13.3% in December 2022.

General shop prices are also sitting at record-highs, with annual inflation reaching 8% in January compared to 7.3% in December, the trade association for retail businesses said today (Thursday, February 2).

Fresh food inflation rose to 15.7% in January, up from 15% in December. This means it has moved above the three-month average of 15% and is the highest inflation rate in the fresh food category on record.

Ambient food, shelf-stable food, saw inflation rise to 11.3% in January, which is up from 11% in December. This is the fastest rate of increase in the ambient food category on record, the BRC said.

Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s chief executive, said January saw rises in retail prices because of discounting slowing and retailers facing high input costs.

“Ambient food inflation accelerated the most as wholesale and bulk prices grew, particularly for sugar and alcohol.

“Fresh food prices also remained high die to increased food production costs as well as elevated wholesale fruit and vegetable prices,” she added.

Mike Watkins, of global information services company NielsenIQ, said that it was expected for consumer demand to be weak in the first quarter of the year due to the impact of energy prices increases and Christmas spending bills.

“So the increase in food inflation is going to put further pressure on household budgets and it’s unlikely that there will be any improvement in the consumer mindset around personal finances in the near term,” he said.

“With shoppers having less money to spend on discretionary retail having paid for their essential groceries, there will be little to stimulate demand across the non-food channels.”