Kantar warned consumers that the price of a basket of goods will rise by €768 per annum up to €7,753 unless they make changes to how they shop.
A hike of almost €800 per year in the price of a basket of everyday goods could be enough to “break” many households this winter, consumer experts have warned.
The latest figures from market research specialists Kantar show inflation at the high street supermarkets hit just under 12% year-on-year in the 12 weeks up to September 4. The increases represent the highest rate of inflation on consumer goods since Kantar began tracking prices in 2008.
It warned consumers that the price of a basket of goods will rise by €768 per annum up to €7,753 unless they make changes to how they shop.
The stark warning came as President Michael D Higgins launched a stinging attack on both world leaders and the United Nations for allowing a food speculation system which is “gambling on people’s lives”.
The price hikes outlined by Kantar will particularly affect parents in their back-to-school spend, with the price of essentials like bread, ham, yoghurt, cereal and milk rising by a massive 19% over the past month alone. That translates to a jump of €2 for a basket of those staple products alone.
“The figures reflect reality and the reality is not positive,” said Dermott Jewell, policy adviser with the Consumers’ Association of Ireland, adding that there is “no question that this will break some families”.
“At best it will determine some very significant changes in the manner in which people live. The reality of life is that there is only x amount of money which can be spent on a finite amount of products, and if prices keep going up like this then you have to either cut back or cut out what you’re buying.”
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He added that in terms of how families are impacted the budget will be key. “A lot will depend on what happens on September 27 (Budget day). It will have to be significant in its impact to give any real confidence to consumers in terms of what they possibly can do as opposed to what they know they can’t continue to do.”
Jim Walsh, spokesperson for charity St Vincent de Paul, said the situation is of “great concern”, adding that 2022’s cost-of-living crisis has seen the number of calls for help fielded by the organisation jump by 20% up to the end of August.
“People are having to make difficult choices in terms of what they can pay or should pay,” he said.
In terms of children suffering the most as back-to-school prices skyrocket, Mr Walsh said that the charity’s experience is that “by and large children are protected”. “For parents, their children’s education and school experience comes first, even above their own needs,” he said.
He agreed that the coming budget is of intense importance. “It’s very hard to say at this stage which way it’s going to go,” he said. “We’re hopeful that there will be targeted increases for the most vulnerable in society.”
President Higgins attack
Meanwhile, President Michael D Higgins launched an attack on both world leaders and the United Nations on Tuesday for allowing a food speculation system which is “gambling on people’s lives”.
Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Laois, Mr Higgins said it would be “absolutely tragic” if this week’s gathering at the UN were allowed to pass without addressing the issues of hunger and food security.
He said “year after year” the UN has avoided dealing with the root problems of the global food crisis and urged Taoiseach Micheál Martin to bring this message to the Assembly meeting in New York later this week.
“We had an immense food crisis 15 years ago in 2007 and yet in 2020 we allowed food to be part of the futures market on the stock exchange.
“The meeting this week in New York will seek again to avoid dealing with structural issues and the structural issues are dependency on a few staples over which people have no control, export crops over which they have no control, speculation on the exchange in relation to grain itself.”
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