Households are cooking simpler meals to cut bills

Research from analysts Kantar showed how people are changing the way they prepare food to cope with costs (Nick Ansell/PA)

Research from analysts Kantar showed how people are changing the way they prepare food to cope with costs (Nick Ansell/PA)

Shoppers are preparing simpler dishes with fewer ingredients to cope with supermarket price hikes, research has revealed.

The figures showed that grocery price inflation has fallen to its lowest monthly rate this year — but remains at its sixth highest level since 2008. It dropped to 16.5 per cent for the four weeks to June 11, down from last month’s 17.2 per cent and March’s record 17.5 per cent.

The research from analysts Kantar showed how people are changing the way they prepare food to cope with the cost-of-living crisis. Kantar said: “The most prominent change we’ve seen is that people are preparing simpler dishes with fewer ingredients. Our data shows that the public are turning away from their ovens and increasingly using microwaves, which reflects the shift to simpler cooking.

“There were four per cent fewer meals made using an oven according to our most recent 12-week data compared to the same period last year, while microwaved meals rose by eight per cent. We also saw a reduction in hob use and a rise in food prepared with toasters and grills.”

Savvy shoppers have been continuing to swerve the full force of price increases, with many switching to the cheapest own label lines. Total spending on these value ranges has rocketed by 41 per cent compared to last year.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “This is the lowest rate of grocery price inflation we’ve seen in 2023, which will be a relief to shoppers and retailers.

“But prices rising at 16.5 per cent isn’t something to celebrate and it’s still the sixth highest monthly figure in the past 15 years.”

The figures come as a survey for Kantar found that of consumers’ top five financial worries, rising grocery prices is the only one they are more concerned about now than at the start of this year.

Almost 70 per cent of households are either “extremely” or “very worried” about food and drink inflation, compared with just over two-thirds when asked the same question in January. It narrowly remains the second most significant concern behind rising energy bills.

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