One in 10 younger adults has admitted stealing items at supermarket self-checkouts over the last year as food prices soared, according to a survey.
One in 25 adults overall said they have intentionally skipped or incorrectly scanned items at the checkout amid record food and drink inflation.
The most recent Office for National Statistics figures show a 19.1% rise in the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages since March last year.
Some 8% have used their overdraft or a credit card to pay for food and 6% reported having to borrow money from friends or family to cover essential purchases.
Some 5% of adults have started using food banks, the survey suggests.
The research found that younger adults are suffering disproportionately, with 37% seeking financial support compared with 5% of those over the age of 55.
“The resilience and tenacity of Britons have been remarkable, with many finding new savvy ways to cut spending. But we are running out of room to manoeuvre.
“With a staggering number of adults actively turning to petty theft and food banks to reduce costs, food inflation is changing social norms and redefining life standards in the UK.
“Sector-wide intervention, akin to the Energy Support Scheme, is needed to prevent this crisis from spiralling further.”
– Opinium surveyed 2,000 UK adults online between March 3 and 7.