Cost of living: Crisp prices could rise 2.2 per cent in six months

Could crisps become a ‘LUXURY’? Popular packs have ALREADY gone up 9.6% and now face further 2.2% rise as war in Ukraine and post-Covid supply issues drives up price of sunflower oil, potatoes, fertiliser and energy costs

  • Price Comparison website MySupermarket says crisp prices could rise by up to 2.2 per cent in six months
  • It comes after data firm Kantar said last month crisp prices had risen by 9.6 per cent in previous 12 months
  • Experts say price rises have been driven by an increase in costs of potatoes and post-Covid supply issues
  • But now snack makers also face an increase to the cost of sunflower oil due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 
  • Britons already facing a cost of living crisis could have to rustle up more cash for a bag of crisps, with experts warning of a 2.2 per cent price rise.

    Prices of the salty snack have already been driven up by 9.6 per cent in the last 12 months due to a spike in the cost of potatoes, increased energy costs and post-Covid supply issues.

    But now consumer experts have warned Britons to brace for a 2.2 per cent rise in the average cost of crisps within six months.

    An increase in the cost of cooking oils due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – from where the UK imports most of its sunflower oil – is being blamed for the price hike.

    It means customers could see the average price of a six pack of Walkers crisps rise to £1.69 in the coming months, with prices currently around £1.65 in some supermarkets. 

    But while any price rises will likely be a matter of pennies, it will be yet another cost increase on Britons, who are already facing huge increases on their gas bills, as well as a National Insurance rise and spiralling inflation rates of around 7 per cent.

    It will particularly hit already hard-up parents trying to keep the costs of snacks and school lunches down as they tackle even bigger bills this year.

    Meanwhile, trade magazines have even suggested crisps could become a ‘luxury’ due to the ‘perfect’ storm of problems facing snack-makers, including the ‘eye-watering’ costs of raw ingredients.

    Consumer experts have warned Britons to brace for a 2.2 per cent rise in the average cost of crisps within six months. Pictured: A graphic showing how prices on could look if there is a 2.2 per cent price rise. *Current prices are based on non-deal prices from Tesco according to comparison website Trolley.co.uk as of April 18, 2022 **Six month prices are estimates based on current prices with a 2.2 per cent increase, rounded up and down to the nearest pence

    Consumer experts have warned Britons to brace for a 2.2 per cent rise in the average cost of crisps within six months. Pictured: A graphic showing how prices on could look if there is a 2.2 per cent price rise. *Current prices are based on non-deal prices from Tesco according to comparison website Trolley.co.uk as of April 18, 2022 **Six month prices are estimates based on current prices with a 2.2 per cent increase, rounded up and down to the nearest pence

    Around 80 per cent of the global supply of sunflower oil comes from Ukraine and Russia, but the ongoing conflict has disrupted supply. Pictured: Empty shelves at a Tesco star in Cambridge earlier this month

    Around 80 per cent of the global supply of sunflower oil comes from Ukraine and Russia, but the ongoing conflict has disrupted supply. Pictured: Empty shelves at a Tesco star in Cambridge earlier this month

    Bare shelves in the crisps aisle of a Tesco in Cambridge earlier this month amid a shortage of sunflower oil

    Bare shelves in the crisps aisle of a Tesco in Cambridge earlier this month amid a shortage of sunflower oil

    According to price comparison website MySupermarket, average crisps prices could rise by up to 2.2 per cent in the next six months.

    Such a rise could see a 4p increase in multi-packs of classic Walkers, an a 5p increase in the cost of a 200g tin of Pringles.

    Upmarket crisps like Tyrells, which are usually priced around £2.29 for a 150g bag when not on offer, could increase to £2.34, while Kettle crisps could also rise by around 5p to £2.05.

    So how could crisp prices look on popular brands in the next six months with a 2.2 per cent rise? 

    Classic Walkers – 6x25g – Current price: £1.65 – Price in six months: £1.69

    Doritos: 180g bag – Current price: £1.99 – Price in six months: £2.04

    McCoys: 6x 25g – Current price: £1.75 – Price in six months: £1.79

    Pringles: 200g tin – Current price: £2 – Price in six months: £2.05

    Frazzles: 6x18g – Current price: 99p – Price in six months: £1.01

    Space Raiders: 6x13g – Current price: 99p – Price in six months: £1.01

    Tyrells: 150g bag – Current price: £2.29 – Price in six months £2.34

    Sensations – 150g bag – Current price: £1.99 – Price in six months: £2.04

    Quavers – 6x16g – Current price: £1.50 – Price in six months: £1.53

    Monster Munch – 6x20g – Current Price: £1.50 – Price in six months: £1.53

    Kettle: 150g bag – Current price: £1.99 – Price in six months: £2.05

    Wotsits: 6×16.5g – Current price: £1.50 – Price: £1.53

     *Current prices are based on non-deal prices from Tesco according to comparison website Trolley.co.uk as of April 18, 2022

    **Six month prices are estimates based on current prices with a 2.2 per cent increase, rounded up and down to the nearest pence.

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    Multi-packs of classic crisps like Space Raiders and Frazzles have remained steady at 99p for some time. And supermarkets are unlikely to raise prices to £1.01 – the cost it could rise to if prices increase by 2.2 per cent. 

    Meanwhile, Frazzles are likely to be immune from the big ingredient cost rises, as they are made out of maize, rather than potato, and cooked with rapeseed oil, rather than sunflower oil.

    However Space Raiders currently lists sunflower oil among its ingredients, meaning its makers KP Snacks face an increase in production costs.

    Prices for food, clothing, gas and electricity and fuel have all soared as the pandemic ends – a situation worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month. 

    According to data firm Kantar, the average price of crisps have already risen by 9.6 per cent in the last 12 months.

    Data from commodity analysts Mintec shows that the cost of potatoes has been rising at a hefty rate, with the cost per metric tonne increasing 166per cent year on year.

    Mintec put this down to a combination of factors. The easing of Covid restrictions has seen demand for processing potatoes recover in foodservice over the past year – putting pressure on supply.

    At the same time, farmers had taken a more cautious approach to planting in the wake of the pandemic, which resulted in a ‘lower planted area.’

    On top of this, potato growers are struggling with the wider rise in fertiliser and energy costs. There have also been an increase in labour costs following Brexit and Covid, with farmers increasing wages by up to 60 per cent last summer to almost £20 an hour to combat a chronic labour shortage.

    Now snack makers are also facing an increase in the cost of sunflower oil due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Edible Oils, Britain’s largest cooking oil bottler, last month warned of a shortage of sunflower oil. The company said 80 per cent of the global supply of sunflower oil comes from Russia and Ukraine.  

    And president of the National Edible Oil Distributor’s Association Gary Lewis said rapeseed oil prices have risen ’50 to 70 per cent’ since Russia’s invasion. 

    Meanwhile, Kim Matthews, commercial director at Edible Oils, told the BBC last month: ‘At the moment, Ukrainian farmers should be sowing the seeds now for the harvest in October and November.

    ‘Clearly that’s not going to happen…. we’re probably going to miss the season so we could be impacted for 12-18 months.’

    He said it is unclear as to when supply will return to normal, pre-war levels. Sunflower oil can be found hundreds of products on supermarket shelves, including ready meals, biscuits and mayonnaise. It is also used, alongside other oils such as rapeseed, to cook crisps.

    Ukraine (pictured: A farm in Zahidnyl pictured last month) has been called the "breadbasket" of Europe, and is a major exporter of wheat, barley, sugar beets and other grains and sunflower oil. The UK gets about 80 per cent of its sunflower oil from Russia and Ukraine, but the supply is to be disrupted due to the war

    Ukraine (pictured: A farm in Zahidnyl pictured last month) has been called the ‘breadbasket’ of Europe, and is a major exporter of wheat, barley, sugar beets and other grains and sunflower oil. The UK gets about 80 per cent of its sunflower oil from Russia and Ukraine, but the supply is to be disrupted due to the war

    Data from commodity analysts Mintec shows that the cost of potatoes (pictured: Library image) has been rising at a hefty rate, with the cost per metric tonne increasing 166per cent year on year. Mintec put this down to a combination of factors. The easing of Covid restrictions has seen demand for processing potatoes recover in foodservice over the past year - putting pressure on supply

    Data from commodity analysts Mintec shows that the cost of potatoes (pictured: Library image) has been rising at a hefty rate, with the cost per metric tonne increasing 166per cent year on year. Mintec put this down to a combination of factors. The easing of Covid restrictions has seen demand for processing potatoes recover in foodservice over the past year – putting pressure on supply

    Now snack makers are also facing an increase in the cost of sunflower oil due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine Pictured: Emergency workers clear up debris after an airstrike hit a tire shop in the western city of Lviv, Ukraine

    Now snack makers are also facing an increase in the cost of sunflower oil due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Pictured: Emergency workers clear up debris after an airstrike hit a tire shop in the western city of Lviv, Ukraine

    Tom Locke, founder of the British Snack Company, told the BBC: ‘There’s an incredible scramble. Everyone’s doing the same thing. 

    ‘So while sunflower oil is impossible to get at the moment, rapeseed oil is possible but difficult to get as well obviously because everyone’s having the same idea, as prices are skyrocketing at the moment.’

    He added that, while his business is trying to absorb the costs, he will have to increase prices if the current situation remains. 

    That has led some to speculate on crisp price increase. In a report headlined ‘Could crisps become a luxury?’ trade magazine The Grocer even warned that the days of potato crisps being seen as an everyday snack could soon be numbered.

    The magazine wrote: ‘As much as Brits love the potato crisp they are seen as an everyday snack rather than a luxury.

    ‘That could all change if market forces continue at their current pace. Crisp manufacturers are facing an eye-watering rise in input costs.

    ‘Not only have they had to deal with steadily rising potato prices – on top of industry-wide rises in logistics costs – but they are now facing an unprecedented squeeze on global sunflower oil supply, around 60per cent of which comes from Ukraine and Russia.

    ‘The war has pushed up prices sharply overnight, creating a perfect storm for bagged snack brands. ‘

    Meanwhile, Alice Popple, consumer analyst at GlobalData, last month warned of increase in crips prices. She said:’The lack of availability of sunflower oil is especially worrying for savory snack brands who depend on this ingredient, as changing to other ingredients will lead to higher price points, both from a business and a consumer perspective. 

    ‘GlobalData’s survey found that 29 per cent of UK consumers deem good value for money in savory snacks to be low prices, suggesting that price increases will be concerning for the category.

    ‘The rising prices of alternative raw ingredients, such as rapeseed oil, is expected to have a continuous detrimental impact on consumer behavior due to financial constraints and other mitigating macroeconomic factors such as GDP as brands offload costs onto consumers.’

    Ms Popple said that, according to GlobalData’s latest polls results, almost one in five (18 per cent) Britons are concerned about the rising cost of day-to-day groceries due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

    ‘Underscoring this, GlobalData’s March 2022 survey found that 53 per cent are still worried about their financial situation,’ she added.

    She said: ‘Brands reformulating with alternative ingredients must consider price sensitivity if they want to keep customers happy – raise them too high and it may push people to seek alternative products or brands.

    ‘The future is uncertain, and prices are set to rise in the long-term. Brands must acknowledge the impact higher prices will have on grocery staples, both as a show of goodwill and for long-term sustainability.’  

    Which food products have seen the biggest price increases in Britain? 
    Product  Price rises 
    Savoury snacks 12%
    Dog food 10.6%
    Cat food 10.5%
    Fresh Beef 9.9%
    Crisps 9.6%
    Kantar data shows the price rise when comparing 12 months ago with week ending March 20, 2022 

    Last month it was revealed how savoury snacks, pet food and beef are experiencing the biggest prices of any products in UK supermarkets with the cost of groceries now 5.2 per cent higher than it was a year ago.

    Researchers at Kantar said it had found how grocery price inflation is seeing more shoppers turning to cheaper products and supermarket own-brand labels, while customers are also making fewer trips to stores to save on petrol.

    According to the firm’s data, prices are rising fastest for dog and cat food and savoury snacks – which includes sausage rolls, pork pies, scotch eggs and olives – along with fresh beef and crisps, with jumps not seen since April 2012. The only food item to have fallen in price compared to a year ago is fresh rashers of bacon.

    The data firm said inflation in the past four weeks had hit its highest level in nearly a decade. It also revealed that, with life returning to normal following the Covid-19 pandemic, shoppers are eating out more – especially among commuters who are returning to offices in larger numbers – and therefore not doing as much food shopping.

    Prices for food, clothing, gas and electricity and fuel have all soared as the pandemic ends – a situation worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month. And the cost of living crisis has seen UK shoppers flock to discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl which have both recorded a 3.6 per cent increase in sales since the New Year.

    Britain’s consumer prices inflation rate touched a 30-year high of 5.6 per cent in February and it is set to climb towards 9 per cent later this year after domestic power tariffs jump by more than half from this Friday, leaving households across the country facing the biggest hit to their living standards this year since at least the 1950s.

    The typical household is already facing an increase of about £690, or 54 per cent, to nearly £2,000 a year from April. And the Office for Budget Responsibility said the price cap was likely to rise by another 42 per cent in October, which would equate to a record increase of £830 – taking the average annual bill above £2,800.

    Meanwhile the Bank of England raised borrowing costs for the third time in a row earlier this month, taking the interest rate back to 0.75 per cent, its pre-pandemic level. Investors expect another hike in May to 1 per cent. 

    Savoury snacks and pet food are experiencing the biggest prices of any products in UK supermarkets, according to Kantar

    Savoury snacks and pet food are experiencing the biggest prices of any products in UK supermarkets, according to Kantar

    Discounters Aldi and Lidl remained the fastest-growing supermarkets during the period, with both seeing sales up 3.6 per cent over the 12 weeks compared with a year ago. This pushed Aldi to its biggest market share in the UK to date, with 8.6 per cent. Lidl’s market share hit 6.4 per cent. The hardest-hit supermarkets were Asda and Morrisons, whose market share fell

    This Kantar data shows how the grocery market share has changed over the past ten years among UK supermarkets

    This Kantar data shows how the grocery market share has changed over the past ten years among UK supermarkets

    A shopper in a supermarket in London on March 8 as the cost of living crisis continues for households across the country

    A shopper in a supermarket in London on March 8 as the cost of living crisis continues for households across the country

    Aldi

    Lidl

    British shoppers have been flocking to discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl in their droves as the cost of living crisis mounts

    Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insights at Kantar, said today: ‘More and more we’re going to see consumers and retailers take action to manage the growing cost of grocery baskets. 

    ‘Consumers are increasingly turning to own-label products, which are usually cheaper than branded alternatives. 

    Shop price inflation hits highest rate since 2011 

    Shop price inflation has hit its highest rate since September 2011 amid warnings to consumers that the full impact of mounting costs is yet to be seen.

    Annual inflation accelerated to 2.1 per cent in March, up from 1.8 per cent in February – the highest rate in more than a decade, according to the BRC-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index.

    Food inflation jumped to 3.3 per cent – its highest rate since March 2013 – while non-food inflation reached 1.5 per cent in March, up from 1.3 per cent in February and its top rate since February 2011.

    Consumers have seen their fifth consecutive month of rising prices amid mounting cost pressures throughout the supply chain, including in rising wages, input costs, global commodity prices, energy and transport.

    The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said many of these costs were beginning to be exacerbated by the situation in Ukraine but the full impact on prices was yet to be seen.

    Wheat prices have risen sharply while the increase in oil prices has not only impacted the cost of domestic energy but also fertiliser and transporting goods.

    BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: ‘Our Shop Price Index has been rising more modestly than other inflation measures as retailers were able to limit price rises on many essential goods.

    ‘By keeping the prices of key items down and expanding value ranges, retailers are trying to support customers most affected by the cost-of-living squeeze, many of whom will face higher energy prices and national insurance contributions from 1 April.

    ‘With overall inflation likely to rise even higher according to the Bank of England, consumers will not have an easy ride this year. The war in Ukraine, and volatility in commodity markets is likely to further dampen consumer confidence in the coming months.’

    Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said: ‘With cost-of-living increases accelerating, the next few months will be a difficult time for consumers.

    ‘Rising food prices will start to impact what’s put in the shopping basket so supermarkets will need to adapt ranges to help shoppers manage what they spend on their weekly groceries.’

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    ‘Own-label sales are down in line with the wider market but the proportion of spending on them versus brands has grown to 50.6 per cent, up from 49.9 per cent this time last year. 

    ‘Meanwhile the grocers are also adapting their pricing strategies in response to the rising cost of goods.  One trend we’re already tracking is the move away from selling products at ’round pound’ prices. 

    ‘The percentage of packs sold at either £1, £2 or £3 has dropped significantly from 18.2 per cent last year to 15.9 per cent this March.’

    Despite prices being higher in stores, total sales fell 6.3 per cent in the 12 weeks to March 20 compared with a year ago. On a two-year basis they were up just 0.7 per cent, although this also included the period when shoppers stripped shelves bare as the pandemic first hit.

    Mr McKevitt said: ‘It’s no surprise that sales are down over the latest period as consumers are now more confident eating out of the home again.

    ‘As well as enjoying meals out with friends and families, people will have also been grabbing food and drink on the go from supermarkets while travelling or at work.

    ‘Those sales aren’t included in these take-home figures, but they will be adding to the grocers’ overall performance.

    ‘What we’re really starting to see is the switch from the pandemic being the dominant factor driving our shopping behaviour towards the growing impact of inflation, as the cost of living becomes the bigger issue on consumers’ minds.’

    The shift saw households make 15.4 visits to the supermarket on average last month, compared with 15.6 trips in March 2021.

    Mr McKevitt added: ‘Higher fuel prices could be playing a role here too as people try to save petrol by visiting the supermarkets less often – something for us to keep a close eye on over the coming weeks.’

    Two years since the start of the pandemic has seen some shifts in shopping habits become permanent, Kantar said, particularly in online shopping.

    Online sales made up 12.6 per cent of total sales in March, compared with just 8 per cent three years ago and researchers found that shoppers over 65 were the biggest adopters, with 9 per cent using it three years ago against 18 per cent today.

    Discounters Aldi and Lidl remained the fastest-growing supermarkets during the period, with both seeing sales up 3.6 per cent over the 12 weeks compared with a year ago.

    This pushed Aldi to its biggest market share in the UK to date, with 8.6 per cent. Lidl’s market share hit 6.4 per cent.

    The hardest-hit supermarkets were Asda and Morrisons, which saw sales drop 9.9 per cent and 11.5 per cent respectively, denting their market share. Both of those supermarkets were taken over by private equity firms in the past year.

    Domestic power tariffs will jump by more than half from this Friday. The typical household is already facing an increase of about £690, or 54 per cent, to nearly £2,000 a year. And the Office for Budget Responsibility said the price cap was likely to go up by another 42 per cent in October, which would equate to a record rise of £830 - taking the average bill above £2,800

    Domestic power tariffs will jump by more than half from this Friday. The typical household is already facing an increase of about £690, or 54 per cent, to nearly £2,000 a year. And the Office for Budget Responsibility said the price cap was likely to go up by another 42 per cent in October, which would equate to a record rise of £830 – taking the average bill above £2,800

    The Office for National Statistics said Consumer Prices Index inflation rose to 6.2 per cent in February, up from 5.5 per cent in January and again reaching the highest level since March 1992, when it stood at 7.1 per cent

    The Office for National Statistics said Consumer Prices Index inflation rose to 6.2 per cent in February, up from 5.5 per cent in January and again reaching the highest level since March 1992, when it stood at 7.1 per cent

    Retail analyst Richard Hyman said: ‘People are really feeling the squeeze. This does big favours for the likes of Aldi and Lidl.

    ‘The middle classes are very snobby about their supermarkets but I can guarantee you the dinner party set in Notting Hill and Islington are shopping at the discounters now.’

    At the same time fresh statistics from the Bank of England revealed borrowing on credit cards and people taking out personal loans grew at its fastest pace for five years.

    Borrowing on credit cards and personal loans jumped by £1.9 billion in February. That is £1 billion more than economists had expected and up from £600 million in January.

    The figures show that families are being forced to turn to borrowing to help pay the bills.

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