The rate at which food prices are rising fell for the second month in a row in May but remains “incredibly high”, says research firm Kantar.
Prices were up by 17.2% from a year ago in the four weeks to the middle of May, down from 17.3% last month, it said.
Food price rises are expected to ease further later this year, but Kantar said an average annual grocery bill is now up to £833 higher than a year ago.
Despite the pressures shoppers still stocked up for the Coronation in May.
Sales of wine, fresh cream and pastry all soared as people “got into the spirit” of the occasion and had a go at making the official Coronation quiche, Kantar said.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is meeting food manufacturers on Tuesday to discuss the cost of food and look for ways to ease the pressure on households.
According to Fraser McKevitt, Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight, May’s slight fall in grocery price inflation was “without doubt welcome news for shoppers”.
Inflation is the rate at which prices are rising. A drop in inflation does not mean prices are falling, but just that the rate of increases is slowing.
Mr McKevitt said food price inflation in May was the third highest Kantar had recorded since 2008.
However, he said households were finding “different ways” to shop and save money, including by opting for supermarkets’ own-brand equivalents. Supermarkets are also battling to offer value to shoppers to lure them through their doors.
“In the fierce contest for market share, eyes have been on the dairy aisle in particular, where the average cost of four pints of milk has come down by eight pence since last month,” Mr McKevitt said.
“Prices are still much higher than they were 12 months ago, at £1.60 currently versus £1.30 last year, but retailers know…