Rampant food price inflation has left the meat category almost untouched, according to our latest survey of prices.

The cost of our regular basket of 10 meat and fish staples has risen just 4p during the past month and is still 1% cheaper than it was in July 2006.

Meat is being promoted differently by retailers this year, according to MLC category development manager Richard Cullen. "There have been fewer big discounts but more small offers," he says. "Instead of half price or a third off, which was unsustainable, there is more likely to be 25% off at the multiples this year. So, although the average price of meat has gone up slightly, the price per kg has changed very little. However, the average price paid to farmers has not changed, or has gone down."

That said, the almost flat basket price belies a number of price changes in individual items. Own-label pork chops posted a hefty price rise and are 35p more expensive than they were in the previous survey. Beef steak mince - a key volume line for retailers - has risen in price for the first time since November. It is now 1.4% more expensive than last year, a rise well below the rate of inflation. The biggest fall was by back bacon, which dropped 13p to £1.51. Own-label thick pork sausages fell 5p - the first drop since the survey began at the start of 2005. Rump steak and salmon steaks also fell slightly in price.

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