Food prices rose by a record 13.3% in December, increasing fears that inflation may not fall as sharply in 2023 as central bankers and economists hope (The Times £). UK food inflation continued to rise in December, according to new sector data that points to “another difficult year for consumers and businesses” (The Financial Times £). UK food price rises soared to a record rate in December, figures show, as retail industry bosses warned that high inflation would continue in 2023 amid the fallout from surging energy bills (The Guardian). Food inflation hit a record annual rate in December as cash-strapped households prepared for Christmas (Sky News). The jump was driven by the high cost of animal feed, fertiliser and energy due to the war in Ukraine (The BBC).

Discount supermarket chain Aldi said sales during December were 26% higher than 2021 as people returned to in-store shopping, prices rose and the group opened more stores (The Financial Times £). Sales at Aldi soared over Christmas as cash-strapped consumers flocked to the discount chain for their festive shop (The Daily Mail).

Hotel Chocolat has agreed a new tie-up in Japan after the collapse of its previous joint venture in the country (The Times £). Hotel Chocolat has agreed a new strategic partnership in Japan, reigniting hopes of success in the country after the failure of a previous venture (The Daily Mail).

Weak exports, job losses and signs that trade with Britain is still being “shunned” after Brexit meant that the manufacturing industry ended 2022 with its lowest output in more than two years (The Times £). Manufacturers suffered a grim end to the year as the sector experienced its worst month since the depths of the pandemic (The Daily Mail). British manufacturers recorded one of the largest drops in activity since the global financial crash (Sky News).

Pubs and restaurants face a “perfect storm” of challenges this year as cash-strapped consumers slash spending and the government reduces its energy bills support – forcing many to cut their opening hours. (The Guardian)

Britain has emerged as one of the most dynamic places for sales of low and no-alcohol drinks, with a sharp increase in new product launches and growth forecasts outstripping many other markets. (The Times £)

Business groups are expecting government help with their energy bills to be halved after March, when the existing package of support expires. (The BBC)