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Ulster fry prices fall to seven-year low, reports Ulster Bank

Published 07/04/2016

A traditional Ulster fry is cheaper than it has been for seven years, says the Ulster Bank's Fry Index
A traditional Ulster fry is cheaper than it has been for seven years, says the Ulster Bank's Fry Index

The cost of a traditional Ulster fry is at a seven-year low, according to new figures.

Prices for key ingredients such as bacon, eggs and sausages have dropped significantly during the past 12 months and are at the cheapest rates since October 2008, the Ulster Bank's Fry Index has found.

Bacon and butter are among the biggest drivers of the fall with the cost of the pork product down more than 16% in the year to the end of February, and the cost of butter down almost 17%.

The price of sausages has also been reduced by 7.5% in the same period with eggs 3.2% lower, according to the index.

Despite the price drop, however, an Ulster fry is still 26% more expensive than 10 years ago, and 37% more expensive than in April 1998, according to the study.

Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey said the Ulster Fry Index had an important economic message.

He said: "Food makes up a significant proportion of household spending. Food and drink is also a key sector of the Northern Ireland economy.

"So understanding how the prices of food stuffs are changing gives us some insight into both the current state of consumer finances, and also some of the challenges facing the agri-food industry, which employs around 90,000 people here, according to some estimates.

"There are a wide range of quirky indices around the world - from the Big Mac Index to the Cappuccino Index - which are intended to put economics into layman's terms, and to shed new light on important economic issues.

"Ours is the Ulster Fry Index, and it hopefully gives the person on the street a clearer idea of why their household finances currently are the way they are.

"Of late, for instance, households have been benefiting from low or no inflation, falling food and energy prices, wage rises, and historically low interest rates.

"This has created something of a sweet spot for consumers, and perhaps helps explain things like the rise in number of cafes and restaurants in Belfast, plus the relatively strong retail environment that we have seen."

Price changes (percentages) in the past year:

:: Bacon minus 16.3%

:: Sausages minus 7.5%

:: Eggs minus 3.2%

:: Butter minus 16.8%

:: Bread minus 5.5%

:: Mushrooms minus 0.7%

:: Tomatoes minus 0.5%

:: Milk minus 4.5%

:: Coffee minus 8.2%

:: Tea 0%

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