On Monday, both Waitrose and Aldi, prominent British supermarket chains, unveiled additional rounds of price reductions, contributing to the positive trend in the country’s food inflation outlook.
Waitrose, the premium grocery retailer, has announced its intention to reduce the prices of an additional 250 products this week, with an average price reduction of 10%. In contrast, Aldi, the discount supermarket, is set to lower the prices of 55 fruit and vegetable items by an average of 11%.
The focus on grocery prices persists as Britons continue to face a cost-of-living crisis that has extended into its second year.
In March, food price inflation in the UK hit its highest point since 1977, surpassing 19%. This official measurement eased to 14.9% by July, and although industry data indicated a further decline to 11.5% in August, the persistent increase in food prices continues to place significant financial pressure on numerous households.
The recent decline in food price inflation is drawing close scrutiny from consumers, legislators, and the Bank of England, especially as the latter considers the possibility of additional interest rate hikes.
Waitrose, a division of the employee-owned John Lewis Partnership, disclosed that these reductions, marking its third round of price cuts this year, would encompass items such as pasta, whole chickens, sausages, and potatoes.
Consistent monthly industry data reveals that Waitrose has been experiencing a decline in market share and falling behind competitors, including the industry leader Tesco, the second-ranking Sainsbury’s, and the German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl.
Earlier this month, Kantar, a research firm, reported that Waitrose held a 4.4% share of the UK grocery market, indicating a year-on-year decrease of 0.2 percentage points.
The Grocer, an industry publication, consistently reports in its weekly pricing data that Waitrose tends to have the highest prices among Britain’s major supermarkets for a typical basket of goods. Conversely, regular surveys indicate that Aldi consistently offers the most affordable prices.
Despite the recent price reductions on various products across British supermarkets, the Institute of Grocery Distribution, a research institution, has projected that food price inflation in the UK is expected to hover around 9% in December.
Retailers have issued warnings that additional supply chain challenges may exacerbate input costs in the upcoming months.
Possible concerns encompass unfavorable British harvests, Russia’s blockade of Black Sea grain, and its subsequent targeting of Ukrainian grain facilities, along with restrictions on rice exports from India.