The bottom has fallen out of loo roll prices - if you’ll excuse the toilet humour.
The typical retail price of toilet paper has dropped from an average of £3.48 a pack in March 2012, to £3.21 this week - a decline of 8%.
Own-label shoppers have made the biggest savings, with the average price of a pack of own-label loo roll dropping by 10% in the past 12 months, compared with a 7% fall in the price of branded packs.
On a per-roll basis, the average price has stayed virtually static year-on-year - at about 52p - which makes it likely that pack size engineering has played a big role in the decline in pack price.
Looking at the market by product type, shoppers who like to pamper their posterior with premium toilet tissue are paying less per roll - 52p now compared with 56p last March. And consumers at the other end of the market - economy toilet tissue - are also making a saving, with the price per roll falling from 29p to 26p.
Wholesale proces: meat & poultry
Tight supplies and high feed costs continue to exert pressure on meat prices. Nearly four months on from the sow stall ban coming in across the EU, UK pork prices are up by 11.7% year-on-year, to £1,562/tonne, while Danish pork is up by 14%, to £1,360.7/tonne.
Recent supermarket pledges to source more UK poultry has given British chicken a boost, with demand and prices rising sharply since February. At £1,239/tonne, UK chicken is now up 6.8% on this time last year. beef prices, meanwhile, remain on an upward trajectory thanks to strong export demand, low slaughterings and increased feed prices, with UK beef up 11.6% year-on-year and French beef up by nearly 20%.
The marked exception to the trend is lamb, which continues to fall as New Zealand lamb returns to more normal pricing levels after a run of high prices in 2011. Increased competition from cheaper imports has taken its toll on UK lamb prices, currently down 18.7% y-o-y.
An increase in promotional activity has also been a factor in the overall drop in price, with 925 deals offered on loo roll across the past 12 months, compared with 817 the previous year. Over the two periods the typical saving offered by promotions is up from 19.9% to 21.9%.
One area of the toilet tissue market that has seen a price increase is the relatively small wet wipes category. The typical pack price has risen 9% year-on-year, from £1.48 to £1.63.
Looking elsewhere in the paper products aisle, the price of kitchen towel is just 1% higher this week than it was in March 2012, at an average of £2.99 a pack compared with £2.95 a year ago. The price has fluctuated between in the past 12 months, however, and dipped to a low of £2.74 at the start of 2013.
Own-label shoppers have been the ones to clean up on kitchen towels in the past year, with the average price per pack falling from £2.71 a year ago to £2.45 - a decline of 10%. In comparison, the price of a branded pack has risen 6%, from £3.17 last March to £3.39 now, with the average price rising steadily across the year.
As with the toilet tissue market, there has been an increase in promotional activity - with 275 deals offered in the past 12 months compared with 246 in the preceding year, although the typical saving fell from 29.6% to 28%.
And the facial tissues market has seen an even steeper hike in promotions. The number of deals has risen from 447 to 669 year-on-year, while the average saving has dipped from 34.5% to 33.3%.
While the average pack price of facial tissues has fluctuated from a high of £2.07 last May to a low of £1.94 at the start of this year, there is little difference in the price this week compared with March 2012 - £2.01 today against £2.06 a year ago.