Bread prices GettyImages-517010420

Shoppers paid £1.40 on average for a sliced wholemeal loaf in February, up from £1.31 the previous month.

The nine pence rise in the cost of a loaf was revealed in new Office of National Statistics Retail Price Index figures released last week.

The data (see graph below) showed shoppers paid 35p more for an 800g sliced wholemeal loaf than they would have last February – an increase of almost a third in 12 months.

Bread prices have soared in the past 18 months as bakers have faced rising input costs including ingredients and energy.

The average price of an unwrapped 800g white loaf has risen almost as much as wholemeal bread, up from £1.47 in January to £1.55 in February. Year-on-year the unwrapped loaf has increased by 36p, or 27%.

ONS data did, however, record a slight dip in the price of an 800g sliced white loaf. The average price had been £1.39 in December and January but dropped by a penny in February.

Hovis last year 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 Feb 2023

The ONS has also released the latest Consumer Price Index, which showed food and non-alcoholic beverage prices rose by 18.2% in the year to February, up from 16.8% in January.

The annual rate for food and non-alcoholic beverage prices is the highest observed for over 45 years, and the ONS said modelling suggested the rate would have last been higher in August 1977, when it was estimated to be 21.9%.

The annual rates for bread and cereals, chocolate and confectionery, and hot beverages were each the highest since at least 2008.

Dining out has also become a lot more costly, with prices in restaurants and cafes rising 11.4% in the year to February 2023, up from 9.4% in the year to January 2023.