Shopping trolley

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Shoppers are paying 30p more for a loaf of white sliced bread than they were a year ago, according to Office of National Statistics (ONS) data.

The average price of an 800g loaf of sliced white bread has risen 28% in the past 12 months, from £1.06 in November 2021 to £1.36 last month.

A tighter lid has been kept on wholemeal bread prices, with an 800g loaf of sliced wholemeal increasing by 21p, or 19.5%, to £1.29 on average.

Of the three loaves monitored by the ONS, unwrapped bread has recorded the smallest price hike, with an 800g white unwrapped loaf up 20p, or 16.5%, to £1.41.

Bread price graph

Source: ONS data

The increases come as bakers pass on soaring costs including ingredients, energy and staffing, with the consumer price inflation rate hitting a 41-year high of 11.1% in October.

Rising ingredients and energy costs, as well as cost of living pressures on consumers, are the top three threats to small bakery businesses, according to a recent study conducted by the Open University with support from the Craft Bakers Association and Real Bread Campaign.

It is a trading environment that has left many bakers concerned about the future, with Scottish Bakers chief executive Alasdair Smith declaring in August that businesses faced an “existential threat to their survival” due to soaring costs and widespread recruitment challenges.

Against this backdrop of rising prices, Hovis has just launched a lower-priced Hovis Simple White loaf targeted at consumers hit by the cost-of-living crisis. Hovis has said pricing for the 800g loaf is at the discretion of retailers and it is understood to be selling for £1.19 in Tesco and Booker.

“As the outlook is hard for many at the moment, we have worked tirelessly to be able to offer a new opening price point loaf, delivering great taste at great value, so our consumers don’t have to compromise on either,” Hovis told British Baker.