Telegraph readers feel the impact of inflation at the supermarket checkout

·7 min read
A customer shops at a supermarket in London, Britain, 20 July 2022. - ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Shutterstock
A customer shops at a supermarket in London, Britain, 20 July 2022. - ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Shutterstock

Inflation surged to a record high this week, with Britain faring worse than any other G7 country after consumer prices rose 10.1pc in the year to July, the biggest leap since 1982.

Price increases - particularly driven by rises in the cost of food including butter, milk and olive oil - have inevitably hit consumers already grappling with the cost-of-living crisis.

Following the news, Telegraph readers shared how price inflation has affected their supermarket shopping habits, and disclosed their chosen cost-saving methods.

Read on to see what your fellow readers discussed in the comments section, Community Facebook group and via our Politics WhatsApp group.

Cutting back

From pasta to pet food, as the prices of staple supermarket goods rise, some readers have taken to reducing their weekly shop to all but the necessities, with one reader comparing theirs to the "war diet".

@Huw Smith: 

"I have started to cut down on non-essentials first - newspapers, streaming services and Sky, for example.

"As for food, I certainly don't shop more at the discounters as the food is simply not good enough quality. It's false economy buying many own brands as they contain more water, so we look for offers and buy more of those to freeze or store."

@David Stanton-Miller:

"Our weekly spends on food used to be in the region of £100 for the two of us (both retired 80 and 77 years old). We have now cut back tremendously and aim for an £80 limit - this entails excluding most meat products. We are endeavouring to copy the war diet with some success, but it is boring. We now bake our own bread traditionally, but are worried about the electrical charges at the next increases. But to put in perspective, we don't live in Ukraine."

@Carolann Abrahall:

"I now buy Tesco cat food, when I used to buy Whiskas. I buy my usuals in greater numbers when they’re on offer, but higher priced items I used to buy I no longer do. I've always gone for value household products, but now do so in frozen foods. I rarely impulse buy, I stick to what I need, not what I want. I also tend to shop around online."

Getting thrifty

Other readers offered saving tips to cope with inflationary prices, including stocking up on non-perishables and avoiding purchasing indulgent foods.

@Mabel Burlington:

"The biggest price hike I spotted was in Sainsbury’s - the Cadbury's triple chocolate roll was one pound for ages and shot up to £3.15. I won’t be buying that again. Nonetheless, there are still bargains to be had everywhere. All it takes is a bit of canny shopping, switch and save.

"Pet food is something that has not changed price at all for me. I get Acana cat food online, and I think I paid slightly less today as it has a five per cent discount. Vets kitchen dog food is on an Amazon subscribe and save, and the price has held for months."

@Tess Roberts:

"I have abandoned all lists when food shopping. I now only buy what is a loss-leader or on offer.

"Be flexible. If you fancy cottage pie, make it with minced turkey if that is half the price of minced beef. Buy potatoes, rice and onions in sacks. Go only for vegetables in season, hence cheaper. Fry in supermarket butter if there are no cheap oils available. Don't spend a fortune on fresh herbs; raid your neighbours' gardens instead. Be inventive using leftovers; never throw anything away. Cheese sauce and spices cleverly used can cover a multitude of sins. Make your own pizza bases and pastry. Never buy anything ready-prepared, even pre-washed and bagged salads. Have freezer space for last-minute reduced items. Never run out of tinned tomatoes, onions, flour, eggs, potatoes, cheese, bacon, stock and frozen peas - you can feed an army on those."

@Warren Stocks, Aberdeenshire via Politics WhatsApp group:

I normally wouldn't dream of starting my Christmas shopping in autumn, let alone summer, but with things only going to get worse in the run-up to Christmas, I will be starting soon.

@Kevin Leedham:

"I shop widely, stock up on non-perishable foods when on offer, use offers and have very minimal food waste. I can't remember when I last threw away a food item because it has perished or gone out of date. Planning is the key, and a lot of people don't plan."

Supermarket switches

Many have turned to more budget-friendly supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl to ease the inflationary pain. Greater convenience and better flavours seem to be added bonuses to our readers’ supermarket switch, in addition to lower prices.

@Kevin Leedham:

"There is always an alternative, and sometimes it's better. I've swapped my branded cheddar to Waitrose own and Aldi Specially selected, both are far more flavoursome and many £/kg cheaper. I'm now open to other alternatives, sometimes people are just too brand loyal."

@Emily Davison:

"I’ve gone from shopping at Waitrose, which took me 10 minutes by car, and two pounds to park, to a brand new huge Lidl, which takes 30 minutes by car, with free parking. I reckon I’m saving 40 quid a week."

Self-sufficiency

Utilising home-grown produce was another favourite method with readers wishing to avoid an ever-increasing shopping bill.

@Deborah Brooks via Community Facebook group:

"I shop locally for food, as I’m very lucky to live where there are good butchers and greengrocers. For everything else, I now shop at Lidl. Using as much home-grown produce as possible, like french beans, plums, potatoes and tomatoes as possible, and freezing some food also helps to save money. I generally tend to cook and bake from scratch now."

@Jag Gadher, Leigh-On-Sea Essex via Politics WhatsApp group:

"I’ll be feasting on my allotment-grown vegetables, catching fish off the coast, buying less meat from the butcher and varieties of lentils and beans."

Fears and worries

Some of our most vulnerable readers voiced their financial concerns in coping with the soaring coasts, and how their struggles have been compounded by a lack of support from the Government.

@Linda James via Politics Whatsapp group:

"As a pensioner nothing has been done by the Government to help us on low pensions. My food bill has dropped by half in order to save for the coming winter. Hopefully, this will be my last struggle in life, and I face death willingly. I never thought my last years would be more of a struggle than those of my youth."

@Jeffrey Smith:

"I have reasonable income and I have not only been shocked by the staggering increase in basic food costs like milk and bread, but the increase in shrinkflation by manufactures which is not being measured as far I know, or taken into consideration when calculating CPI."

Have you made any changes to your supermarket shop? Tell us in the comments section below