Reading a shop receipt

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Shoppers paid five pence more for a loaf of white bread in December than in November, new data has revealed.

According to Office of National Statistics Retail Price Index figures published today (18 January), the average price of an 800g unwrapped white loaf was £1.46 in December, up from £1.41 the previous month.

The December price means shoppers are paying 25% more than they were a year ago, when the same loaf would have cost £1.16.

Meanwhile, the price of an 800g sliced white loaf has risen three pence in a month to £1.39 and an 800g sliced wholemeal loaf is up two pence to £1.31.

Hovis recently unveiled a lower-priced 800g Hovis Simple White loaf in reaction to the cost-of-living crisis. While Hovis said pricing for the loaf is at the discretion of retailers it launched for £1.19 in Tesco and Booker.

Bread price graph

Source: ONS data January 2023

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) today also released the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI), which showed food and non-alcoholic beverage prices rose 16.9% in the 12 months to December 2022, up from 16.5% year-on-year in November.

ONS modelling showed the last time the rate would have been higher was in September 1977, when it was estimated to be 17.6%.

The strongest month-on-month price rises were in milk, cheese and eggs, according to the ONS, which also reported hikes in sugar, honey and confectionery. It said prices in the overall bread and cereals category had risen more slowly than in the same month of the previous year.

Prices are being pushed up by soaring costs including ingredients, energy and staffing.

The Treasury last week announced a new scheme to provide discounts on business energy bills, but this has been criticised by many in the baking industry.

The Federation of Bakers, Craft Bakers Association and Scottish Bakers have written to Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt warning that high costs and a lack of clarity in aspects of the scheme will leave businesses considering their future.