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FOCUS: Dissecting YOUR shopping basket after the worst price rises in 40 years

FOCUS: Dissecting YOUR shopping basket after the worst price rises in 40 years

Thursday 26 January 2023

FOCUS: Dissecting YOUR shopping basket after the worst price rises in 40 years

Thursday 26 January 2023


It emerged yesterday that inflation in Jersey had hit its highest level since the 1980s... So what has that meant for YOUR shopping basket? Express dissects...

New figures released by Statistics Jersey showed that the cost of living had risen by 12.7% in a year – and islanders' shopping baskets alone are costing 14.2% more than they did last year.

Express explored some of the key categories, and how price rises have been impacting different businesses and services across the island...

Shopping at a glimpse

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Animal products 

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Some of the highest one-year increases can be seen in the costs of meat, eggs, and dairy which have been hit by the rising costs of energy, labour, and animal feed.

Poultry costs increased by 23.3% over the past year, other meats were up 25.1%, and cheese also saw a 19.2% increase over the same period.

Ukraine and Russia supply around one-third of the world's wheat and grain exports, which has been heavily impacted by the war. 

Rising wheat and grain costs have caused a 17.4% increase in the price of bread, and animal feed costs have soared, resulting in increased meat, dairy, and egg prices as farmer’s struggle to feed their livestock. 

Allan McCaffrey, owner of local free-range egg farm Happy Hens, previously spoke to Express about the huge increase in grain feed costs impacting his egg production, with customers suffering a 12.2% price increase in the last year.

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Pictured: Happy Hens keeps approximately 8,000 hens that produce 6,000 eggs per day which are all sold locally.

Mr McCaffrey said: “As a local industry we all work together and talk to each other. I’d say last year we would collectively spend around £270,000 on chicken feed, but now the same amount costs £480,000.”

He added that the additional impact of bird flu was reducing egg production, as new hens could not be brought into the island as often. 

Fruit and vegetables

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Chief Executive Officer of Caring Cooks, Yvonne Corbin, expressed her dismay that fresh fruit and vegetables also have also large price increases and worries that people will struggle to maintain a healthy diet.

The charity, which supports islanders struggling to feed their families, is facing its biggest challenges yet with waiting lists currently the longest they’ve ever been.

"There is an absolute and increasing need for support with food in Jersey," explained Mrs Corbin.

Caring Cooks specifically supports families with children of school age, believing that a nutritious diet plays a crucial role in the healthy development and prevention of ill health in children.

However, Mrs Corbin explained that she is seeing people from all walks of life choosing to use a microwave instead of an oven due to wanting to save on electricity bills.

"We are seeing cases of people at food banks in the UK turning down offers of potatoes and large vegetables as they are just too expensive to cook,” she added.

Mrs Corbin went on to explain that microwave meals are often the cheaper and more convenient option for people with a limited grocery budget, particularly those who are working multiple jobs in order to make ends meet, but leave a lot to be desired nutritionally.

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Pictured: Yvonne Corbin, CEO of Caring Cooks.

Caring Cooks also provides a full catering service offering a wide range of nutritious hot and cold foods to both primary and secondary schools across the island.

However, Mrs Corbin explained that the food prices for this service have "gone up phenomenally".

"We don’t want to put our prices up as it goes against our charity ethos of making food accessible for everyone," the CEO explained.

"Thankfully, we are able to fix supplier prices for certain periods of time, but families don’t have this option so are faced with constant increases."

Mr Corbin said she hopes that the Government will provide free meals for all school children, both primary and secondary, in the future but appreciates that this is a "huge undertaking".

Oils and fat

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Oils and fat went up by 22.8% over the 12 months, with a huge five-year price increase of over 50%. This is also likely to have been driven by the war in Ukraine, the country responsible for producing almost half of the world’s sunflower oil supplies.

Collette Labey - aka 'The Jersey Wonderer' – previously spoke to Express of her surprise that the impact of the war in Ukraine was having on her Jersey Wonder business.

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Pictured: The Jersey Wonderer needs 20 litres of oil to make her Wonders each week.

"Once the War in Ukraine became more prevalent, the price of sunflower oil rocketed,” she explained. “Who would have known that this war would affect my Wonder business, but I learnt 60% of the oil I use is made in Ukraine. 

"My eyes were opened to the way the world problems affect us all.”

Mrs Labey – whose business uses 20 litres of oil per week – explained that the price of a litre of oil had increased from £1.62 per litre in 2020, to £5.31 per litre at the end of 2022.

Tea

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Interestingly, tea was the only shopping basket item that actually went down in cost over the last year, with price reduction of 3.1%.

This is likely due to the global oversupply of tea, with production more than doubling in the last two decades.

More to be done?

Carl Walker, Chairman of the Jersey Consumer Council, said that that the Government needed to be done to help islanders. 

He said: "Experts seem to be suggesting that prices may have peaked - now whether that is true I do not know, but inflation is still astronomically high and demonstrates that Islanders are still going to need help into the summer."

Mr Walker noted that recent hikes in the cost of electricity and milk, which he described as "two staples of everyone's budget", were yet to be reflected in the RPI figures.

"It may well be the case that the government needs to extend some measures - such as the reduction in social security - to help Islanders get through the winter," he added.

However, Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel said the headline figures were "not pleasant but not unexpected", adding that he will be chairing a cost-of-living meeting next week, which will include a review of whether 'mini budget'-style measures are needed.

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Pictured: Deputy Kirsten Morel, Minister for Economic Development, described the inflation figures as "not pleasant but not unexpected".

One of the key elements of the package was an increase of 12% in Income Tax thresholds and allowances, including child allowances, additional allowance, and childcare tax relief, from 1 January 2023.

September’s mini budget also included a cut of 2% in Social Security contributions, however this reduction was only temporary and ended on 31 December 2022.  

Deputy Elaine Millar, Minister for Social Security, said that it is unlikely that a similar reduction of social security contributions will happen again in the near future as "the changed tax allowances will counterbalance the return to normal contribution levels from January".

However, she added that this will be kept under review.

READ MORE...

Ouch! Islanders' purses pummelled by worst price hikes since 1980s

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Posted by john garner on
Excellent article but missing one salient point ..The cheaper budget / saver / economy lines in each category have gone up by 2x the average of the whole group
Posted by on
Try telling us something we don't know!
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Makes our 7.7% OAP increase look stupid.
No wonder we are suffering.
Posted by Ann Robbie on
Agreed Keith. 7.7% may sound a lot but is whole inadequate with the current cost of living increases.
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