UK food inflation reached a new high of 18.2% this past month amid a shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables on supermarket shelves. The price of basics such as vegetables, eggs, and dairy products soared to levels not seen in 45 years, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. Food inflation accelerated strongly in February to a new record, up from 16.8% in January, the fastest rate year-on-year since 1977.
In the year to February 2022, prices for vegetables have surged 18%, the highest rate since February 2009, the ONS explained. "The largest upward effect came from vegetables, where prices rose in the month to February 2023 by more than a year earlier," it added. "There have been media reports of shortages of salad produce and other vegetables, reportedly because of bad weather in southern Europe and Africa. The impact of higher electricity prices on produce grown out of season in greenhouses in the UK and northern Europe."