Consumer have suffered the “worst inflation in a generation” throughout 2023 which hit more than a 45 year high of 19.6% in March.
Even though price rises have slowed they are still around 9% higher compared to a year ago which has caused misery for millions of households and their finances.
The war in Ukraine highlighted the UK’s gap in the wholesale market as millions of households have suffered another year of high energy prices.
Which? head of food policy Sue Davies said: “We’ve seen the worst inflation in a generation in 2023 and while the rate at which prices are going up is slowing, food prices are still unbearably high for many.
“As a category, butters and spreads now cost less than this time last year, however, the prices of everyday essentials may never return to the prices shoppers were used to before the cost-of-living crisis began.
“Budget range products remain the cheapest items on supermarket shelves but may not be accessible to those who rely on more expensive convenience stores.
“This is why we’ve been calling for supermarkets to help those who are struggling by making sure affordable food is available in smaller branches.”
Balwinder Dhoot, director of sustainability and growth at the Food and Drink Federation, said: “While agricultural commodity prices are generally falling, they remain 21% higher than they were pre-pandemic.
“There have been significant price rises in cocoa – reaching a 25-year high, while olive oil prices are almost double than a year ago.
“The recent navigation turmoil in the Red Sea will likely add to inflationary pressures on our sector, with global shipping rates increasing by 10% since the start of the month.”
Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira), said: “While optimism usually accompanies a new year, we anticipate 2024 to be another challenging period given the prevailing pessimism in economic growth.
“We expect inflation to stabilise, and interest rates to remain where they are. Economic stability is crucial for us to focus on economic recovery.”