How the rate of inflation has changed for everyday items

Inflation fell to a fresh two-and-a-half year low in March as food price growth slowed sharply once again.

Food and non-alcoholic drink inflation dipped to 4%, down from 5% in February, to reach its lowest level since November 2021, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A slowdown in price rises last month for many household groceries was partly offset by an increase in the cost of fuel and a jump in inflation for a handful of items.

Petrol continues to be cheaper than it was 12 months ago, though the 1.4% drop in the year to March was smaller than the 3.9% fall in the year to February, reflecting the recent rise in prices at the pumps.

ECONOMY Inflation
(PA Graphics)

Inflation is still accelerating for some everyday items including crisps (up 9.4% in price last month compared with 6.2% in February), soft drinks (up 3.8% compared with 2.4%), chocolate (up 9.8% compared with 8.9%) and eggs (up 3.9% compared with 3.2%).

But a growing number of products are continuing to record negative inflation – in other words, prices are falling year-on-year.

The average cost of whole milk was down 11.1% in the year to March, a slightly larger fall than the drop of 10.2% in February, while low-fat milk fell by 6.5%, broadly unchanged on a decrease of 6.6% in February.

ECONOMY Inflation
(PA Graphics)

Frozen seafood fell more steeply in March (down 8.7%) than in February (down 4.0%), as did cheese and curd (down 1.6% versus a drop of 0.3%).

Meanwhile, margarine and other vegetable fats are now recording negative inflation, falling in price by 1.2% last month after rising 0.2% in February.

The cost of air travel was down by 1.1% in March after jumping 6.5% year-on-year in February.

There have also been sharp slowdowns in the average price of pasta and couscous, which rose by 5.0% in March compared with 8.9% in February; women’s clothes (up 5.2% in March compared with 7.1% in February); and cinema, theatre and concert tickets (up 5.4% compared with 8.5%).

Below is a list of examples of how the CPI inflation rate has either slowed or accelerated.

Two figures are listed for each item: the average rise in price in the 12 months to February, followed by the average rise in price in the 12 months to March.

– Examples where inflation has slowed, ranked by the size of the change:

Pasta products & couscous: Feb up 8.9%, Mar up 5.0%
Sugar: Feb 17.6%, Mar 14.2%
Cinemas, theatres & concerts: Feb 8.5%, Mar 5.4%
Frozen vegetables other than potatoes: Feb 11.7%, Mar 8.8%
Sauces, condiments & culinary herbs: Feb 8.2%, Mar 5.9%
Meat: Feb 5.0%, Mar 3.1%
Women’s clothes: Feb 7.1%, Mar 5.2%
Breakfast cereals: Feb 7.1%, Mar 5.6%
Fresh or chilled fruit: Feb 4.3%, Mar 2.8%
Children’s clothes: Feb 5.7%, Mar 4.5%
Mineral or spring waters: Feb 9.5%, Mar 8.3%
Potatoes: Feb 8.5%, Mar 7.6%
Passenger train travel: Feb 4.3%, Mar 3.4%
Rice: Feb 3.9%, Mar 3.3%
Fast food/takeaway food: Feb 6.6%, Mar 6.0%
Tea: Feb 7.2%, Mar 6.7%

– Examples where inflation has accelerated:

Crisps: Feb up 6.2%, Mar up 9.4%
Purchase of pets: Feb 9.2%, Mar 11.3%
Soft drinks: Feb 2.4%, Mar 3.8%
Chocolate: Feb 8.9%, Mar 9.8%
Fruit & vegetable juices: Feb 7.7%, Mar 8.6%
Coffee: Feb 0.1%, Mar 0.8%
Eggs: Feb 3.2%, Mar 3.9%
Ready-made meals: Feb 4.1%, Mar 4.6%
Pizza & quiche: Feb 1.0%, Mar 1.4%

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