Belfast Telegraph

Record fall in food prices points to a cheaper Christmas

Consumers have reason to look forward to shopping for Christmas dinner this year following the first annual food deflation in eight years.

The latest shop price index from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen shows annual food deflation for the first time since the series began in December 2006, falling 0.2% in November.

Both the fresh and ambient food categories reported annual declines, falling 0.3% and 0.2% respectively.

Overall, shops reported deflation for the 19th consecutive month, unchanged at 1.9% in November.

The result follows falling commodity prices, a strong pound and fierce competition for customers among the supermarkets.

Non-food deflation slowed marginally to 2.9% in November from 3.1% in October, the survey added.

The BRC said the prices of the majority of the agricultural commodities it followed had consistently fallen over the year, but with some exceptions.

While sugar and cotton prices were weighed down by large global supplies and record global production, coffee, cattle and cocoa prices spiked because of weather-related conditions restricting supply.

BRC director-general Helen Dickinson said: "With food prices down, wages up, a highly competitive market keeping inflation low, and Christmas around the corner, there are plenty of good reasons to assume a strong trading period lies just ahead of us."

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, added: "The savvy Christmas shopper can expect competitive prices across food retailers."

Belfast Telegraph