SHOPPERS face a Â£682 yearly grocery bill hike as the price of food continues to rocket.
Grocery price inflation has hit a record 14.7% and could still go higher, experts have warned.
Sales of supermarket own-label products jumped again by 10.3% over the latest four weeks, and the cheapest value ranges grew by 42% as shoppers sought to manage their budgets.
The figures are from research firm Kantar which found that just over a quarter of households say they are struggling financially â double the figure recorded last November.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “Yet again, we have a new record high figure for grocery price inflation and itâs too early right now to call the top.
“Consumers face a Â£682 jump in their annual grocery bill if they continue to buy the same items, and just over a quarter of all households now say theyâre struggling financially, which is double the proportion we recorded last November.
“Nine in 10 of this group say higher food and drink prices are a major concern, second only to energy bills, so itâs clear just how much grocery inflation is hitting peopleâs wallets and adding to their domestic worries.”
The news comes after consumer price inflation, which represents the price of all goods and not just food,Â hit 10.1% in September and is back to a 40-year high.
And the hit on food bills is leading more and more people to wait to stock up on their Christmas groceries, according to the firm.
Mr McKevitt said: âThis time last year two million consumers had already bought their festive Christmas pudding. Weâve seen 32% fewer shoppers doing that this time around, suggesting people are not trying to spread the cost of their purchasing â at least not in October.â
Meanwhile shoppers are flocking to discount supermarkets to save money.
Aldi was the fastest-growing retailer in the latest period, increasing its sales by 22.7%, while Lidl boosted sales by 21.5%.
Asda again led the traditional Big Four supermarkets with sales growing by 5.3%.
The market share of the two German discounters together has gone from just 4.4% in 2008, to 16.4% now.
We’ve listed seven easy ways to slash your grocery bills by thousands every year.
How can I slash my grocery bills?
1. Get a loyalty card – save up to Â£1,000 a year
Signing up for a supermarket loyalty card can often help you to get cheaper prices on essentials.
If you have a loyalty card, you may find you can get extra points or discounts, particularly if you buy petrol from the same supermarket.
The Sun recently compared the best supermarket loyalty cards in this handy guide.
But it’s worth comparing loyalty schemes – and remember you don’t have to stay loyal, despite the name.
Households can save up to Â£1,000 a year thanks to the exclusive deals offered to loyalty cardholders.
2. Known when to shop – save up to Â£500 a year
Heading to the shops when products are marked down and bright yellow discount stickers are applied can save you serious dough.
If you shop in the evening, you are more likely to find goods that have been marked down.
Seek out the “Middle of Lidl” deals updated on Thursdays and Sundays and the storeâs “Pick of the Week” food offers.
Aldi has a fortnightly “Super 6” offer with six discounted items. The Co-op offers a Â£5 Freezer Favourite bundle.
We’ve put together a handy guide to what time supermarkets including Aldi, Asda, Tesco and Lidl reduce their prices.
Households could slash their grocery bills by up to Â£500 a year by keeping a lookout for yellow stickers and discount days.
3. Make a list and take stoke – save up to Â£240 a year
One of the most common mistakes shoppers make is going out underprepared.
Always do a stock take before going shopping.
It will stop you from buying what you already have and itâs amazing how many great recipes can be made from a few storecupboard items already sitting there.
If you do need to go out make a list to help stay focused on getting the items you really need, rather than being drawn into impulse purchases.
Another tip is to choose a smaller trolley – or a basket, if possible – to shop with.
A bigger trolley will look emptier even after you’ve finished trawling the aisles, and can encourage you to pick up more items.
The average household can save up to Â£240 a year with this rule.
4. Swap to own brand – save up to Â£800 a year
Ditching items with labels like “finest” in favour of “own” or “value” can be worthwhile.
The Sun regularly tests supermarket own-brand products to see if they can beat the big brands.
Lidl’s own brand Freeway Cola costing 47p beat other supermarkets’ own brands to be crowned the best by The Sun.
While the budget supermarket’s own brand orange juice was also found to be the best alternative to Tropicana.
The brand’s Smooth Orange Juice costs Â£2.75 compared to Lidl’s Simply Orange Juice, which is just 55p.
You can also try checking frozen alternatives to fresh fruit and vegetables and looking on the lower shelves where customers are known to find better deals.
Households can save up to Â£800 a year by buying cheaper own brand groceries.
5. Don’t ignore granny groceries – save up to Â£350 a year
Modern items such as liquid soap, shower gel and washing capsules mean youâre paying more for added water.
Switch back to what your gran would have bought, such as solid soap bars and washing powder.
Ariel washing capsules for your laundry can cost up to Â£11.80 per kg compared to Ariel washing powder at only Â£3.08 per kg.
Making the switch could slash the average grocery bill by Â£350 per year.
6. Ditch the kitchen roll – save up to Â£200 a year
Some big-name brands have hit Â£6 a pack, but you can buy three reusable microfibre cloths for Â£1 in Iceland.
Pop them in the wash after use then use them again.
Households can slash their bills by up to Â£200 a year by doing so.
7. Shop wonky – save up to Â£150
Strange-shaped fruit and vegetables taste the same but cost less.
For example, Morrisons sells wonky veg products from 45p, while Lidlâs Â£1.50 Too Good To Waste boxes contain a whopping 5kg of fruit and vegetables that may be slightly damaged or discoloured but is still perfectly good to eat.
Households that switch to buying wonky fruit and veg could save Â£150 a year.