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Inflation in UK grocery market hits record high amid cost of living crisis

A shopper walks next to a photographic depiction of tomatoes on a Tesco supermarket in London, Britain, February 26, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Inflation in the United Kingdom's grocery market has soared to a record high, hitting prices for milk and eggs the hardest this month.

The grocery inflation rate reached 17.1% in the four weeks to Feb. 19, according to market researcher Kantar, which said on Tuesday that prices were rising the fastest for milk, eggs, and margarine. This could increase the cost of a family's typical buying basket by £811 per year, it said.

"This February marks a full year since monthly grocery inflation climbed above 4%. This is having a big impact on people's lives," Fraser McKevitt, the head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said.

He said research by the firm had found that rising grocery prices were the second most important financial issue for the public behind energy costs.

The came one week after major UK supermarkets started rationing the sale of some staple fruits and salad vegetables.

Tesco (TSCDF), the UK's biggest supermarket, said last week that it had temporarily capped the number of packs of tomatoe, pepper, and cucumber to three per customer. It blamed poor weather in Spain and North Africa for shortages that the UK government warned could last a month.

Food prices, along with those of numerous other goods used in daily life, have increased primarily as a result of the rise in energy costs since the start of the war in Ukraine last year.

This is the highest rate of inflation since the data company started tracking it in 2008.

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