Crumpet with butter

Prices have been hiked on wrapped bread, as well as pitta and crumpets

Brits may have enjoyed a cheaper Christmas dinner in 2018, but prices for some supermarket staples are on the rise as we head into the new year, research by The Grocer shows.

Shoppers are paying on average 2% more for wrapped bread than last January, following a swathe of pre-Christmas price hikes in the mults [Edge by Ascential: 52 w/e 2 January 2019].

Hovis and Kingsmill loaves are now 4% and 8% more expensive respectively, while supermarket prices for Warburtons’ bread are up by 2% year on year.

The mults have have also hiked prices on own label wrapped bread, as well as croissants, pitta bread and crumpets. It follows a surge in wheat commodity costs last year, when “drought was a significant issue globally as well as domestically”, said James Webster, a senior analyst for AHDB. “The UK wheat crop is a shade under 14Mt, and expected to be the smallest since 2012/13,” he added.

From our Top Products survey: Inflation helps bread to rise again

High feed wheat costs also pushed up UK farmgate milk prices last year, which is ­driving dairy inflation. Morrisons put up prices across a range of milk SKUs last November; Sainsbury’s made a similar move this week. Both are now selling a four-pinter of fresh own label milk for £1.15, up from £1.10. Meanwhile, a 250g block of own label ­butter is now £1.57 - up 2% since November - following hikes across the mults.

There have been some even more dramatic price increases on spreadable butter SKUs, which could reflect higher commodity costs for rapeseed oil, which surged last year “due to a poor crop as a result of the high temperatures in the EU over summer”, says an industry source.The summer heatwave is also having an impact on the cost of frozen food, with supermarkets hiking prices on frozen potato SKUs following warnings from processors that supply issues could last until summer 2019. A 1.5kg bag of McCain’s Crinkle Cut Chips is up 23p to £2.90, for example. However, inflation in the frozen aisles is primarily being driven by fish with average prices up 5% year on year. “Prices for whitefish are at an all-time high at the moment as quotas are down,” said Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr, UK director of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Sainsbury’s also this week put up its prices for bananas. A kg of loose Fairtrade bananas is now 83p, up from 78p. “The cost of individual products is determined by a number of factors and prices can fluctuate, both up and down, as a consequence,” said a spokeswoman. “We remain committed to providing our customers with great quality and value every time they shop with us.”