The Cost of Food Index

Are rising food costs affecting your finances? Read Moneyboat's guide for insights into the top 10 inflating foods and tips for managing your budget.

The cost-of-living crisis has played a big part in the cost of food in the UK rising quickly, but actually, the cost of food has been rising anyway over the years. This trend is unlikely to change anytime soon, as people continue to get paid more and the economy inflates to keep up. We wanted to explore the rising cost of food, as well as which food has had the highest inflation rate so far and is costing us more than it used to.

We looked at the top 10 food types with the highest inflation rates in the last 15 years, and how much these foods could cost by 2038 if they continue to rise in price at the same rate, and you’ll be stunned at some of the findings from our research.

A comparison on the rising cost of food

Why is the cost of food going up?

The rising cost of food is a concern for many households right now, and the inflation rate varies from food type to food type. According to recent research, food inflation has been increasing at an average rate of 3.7% per annum over the past 15 years, which means that food prices have increased by 67.06% in the past 15 years. As food is a basic necessity, it could be worrying for some to hear that food is becoming more expensive, but we’ll talk about how to balance your finances below to help account for any changing expenses.

Which food is becoming expensive the quickest?

Inflation rates for some food types have been higher than others. The top 10 food types with the highest inflation rates in the last 15 years are:

1. Salmon - 98.64%

Salmon is one of the most popular fish in the world, and its high demand has contributed to its high inflation rate. Overfishing, pollution, and climate change have also affected salmon stocks, leading to a decrease in supply and a consequential increase in prices.

2. White fish - 93.46%

White fish is another fish type that has seen a significant increase in prices. White fish includes fish like cod, haddock, and plaice, and their prices have been affected by overfishing and climate change, because there is much less supply, leading to an increase in prices.

3. Sausages - 90.49%

Sausages are a staple food in many households, but their prices have increased significantly in the last 15 years. The rising cost of meat, particularly pork, has contributed to the increase in sausage prices.

4. Butter - 85.83%

Butter is a common household item that has seen a significant increase in prices. The demand for butter has increased, particularly in countries like China, and the cost of producing butter has also gone up, contributing to the increase in prices.

5. Tomatoes - 85.29%

Tomatoes are a staple ingredient in many dishes, but their prices have gone up significantly in the last 15 years. The cost of growing and transporting tomatoes has increased, and changes in weather patterns have affected tomato crops. As a result, supply has dwindled, and prices have gone up.

6. Milk - 75.00%

Milk is a basic necessity for many households, but its prices have gone up significantly in the last 15 years. The cost of producing milk has increased, particularly the cost of animal feed, the outcome of which is a drop in supply and a rise in prices.

7. Coffee - 70.10%

Coffee is a popular beverage that has seen a significant increase in prices. The demand for coffee has increased, particularly in countries like China and India, leading to an increase in prices. The cost of producing coffee has also gone up, particularly due to changes in weather patterns affecting coffee crops in Asia.

8. Grapes - 59.18%

Grapes are a popular fruit, but their prices have gone up significantly in the last 15 years because of a drop in supply. This is due to grape crops being affected by shifting weather patterns, meaning less supply and higher prices.

9. Mince - 57.83%

Mince is a popular meat type that has seen a significant increase in prices due to the rising cost of meat, particularly beef. The demand for meat has increased globally, leading to an increase in prices.

10. Pears - 56.20%

The prices for pears have gone up significantly in the last 15 years – once again, the shift in weather patterns due to global warming has affected prices due to decreased supply.

If these prices continue to inflate at the same rate, the cost of these food types could increase significantly by 2038, bringing the average cost of some basic items to a staggering amount:

  • By 2038, salmon could cost £37.68 per kg – it’s typically 260g for two fillets, which would then cost you £9.79.

  • White fish could cost £37.76 per kg, and typically we would actually buy 260g for 2 cod fillets, which comes to £9.82 total.

  • Sausages could cost £12.59 per kg, and a 400g pack of 6 sausages would then come to £5.04.

  • Butter could cost £4.39 per 250g, which would mean you could pay £8.77 for a 500g tub.

  • Milk could cost £1.23 per pint, which means the usual 4 pints could come to as much as £4.90.

How can I make my food shopping cheaper?

These statistics can be intimidating, particularly in the current cost of living crisis. But don’t worry, you can keep on top of the cost of your food shop by adopting some habits that help you keep track of your money. It’s essential to keep track of how much your food shops are costing you and adjust how much you budget for your food shop accordingly. Shopping for groceries at cheaper stores, buying in bulk, and planning meals ahead can help you manage your food costs more effectively.

Good budgeting techniques, such as tracking your expenses and prioritising essential purchases over luxury goods can help you manage those basic costs better. You could also explore alternative sources of income, such as part-time work or freelance opportunities, to give you some additional budget to work with.

Another really important step to keeping on track of your budget is managing debt, such as credit card debt or loans, because this can help reduce your monthly expenses and improve your financial stability. Moneyboat is committed to providing financial education and support to help individuals and families manage their finances effectively -, you can speak to our friendly service team at any time of day about any loan you have with us.

Remember, payday loans should be used responsibly and exclusively for sudden emergency costs. To use them responsibly, only borrow the exact amount needed for the emergency and carefully understand the terms and conditions, including interest rates and repayment terms. Repay the loan on time to avoid any additional fees. Before opting for a payday loan, it’s best to explore alternatives such as financial assistance from family or friends, community organisations, or traditional lending institutions. As we mentioned above, creating a budget and building an emergency fund can help you reduce reliance on payday loans and help you keep on top of your finances even during difficult times.

Check out our blog for more money saving advice and support with your finances.


We used Government RPI figures from here:

We then looked at the cost of popular food items in March 2008 and March 2023 to work out the % increase over that time. To look at how that could affect prices in the next 15 years, we then increased prices by the same %.

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