An Ulster Fry can be a pretty tasty way to start the day but now it could be even better as a top economist has said that the cost of the breakfast dish is at its lowest for seven years.
The latest Ulster Bank Ulster Fry Index suggests that the price of your Ulster fry should be 8.5% cheaper than it was last year, based on the official retail price statistics.
Bacon and butter are the biggest drivers of the fall in the Ulster Fry Index over the last year – down over 16% and nearly 17% respectively in the 12 months to the end of February.
The price of sausages is down 7.5% in the same period, according to the index, with eggs 3.2% lower.
October 2008 was the last time the Ulster Fry Index was as low.
Whilst the collective price of these breakfast items is at its lowest in over seven years, looking over the longer-term reveals that they are some 26% dearer than they would have been 10 years ago, and 37% more expensive than in April 1998.
In a online blog, Ulster Bank Chief Economist in Northern Ireland, Richard Ramsey 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 in the past year:
Bacon - 16.3%
Sausages - 7.5%
Eggs - 3.2%
Bread - 5.5%
Mushrooms - 0.7%
Tomatoes - 0.5%
Milk - 4.5%