Food price inflation: why the cost of making a family spag bol has hit £10

Spaghetti Bolognese is the UK’s favorite homemade pasta dish. Photo: Burcu Atalay Tankut/Getty Images

The cost of making spaghetti bolognese for a family of four has risen to £10, up 15.6% in the last year alone, according to the most detailed government data released so far on price increases.

The cost of ingredients for the country’s most popular pasta dish increased by just 24p between 2018 and 2022, but has now skyrocketed to £9.98, an increase of 20% since 2018.

The headline figure masks even steeper increases for key ingredients. Olive oil is up more than 50% in five years and canned tomatoes 45%, while dry spaghetti is up 39%.

The combination of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine has sent prices skyrocketing, changing the way we live our lives, from the kinds of meals we cook to how we spend our free time.

Using data released on Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), The Guardian has created a calculator to show how much more we now have to pay for daily activities compared to 2018, from making a bowl of spaghetti to stocking up on toiletries. . or go out at night.

Government statisticians measure inflation by tracking a basket of everyday goods and services, known as the consumer price index.

For the first time, ONS has published actual price data for 455 individual items, allowing consumers to see changes over a five-year period.

A spokesperson said: “We previously published a very small number of average prices.

“But today is the first time that, using an improved methodology, we now publish regular average prices for the majority of the basket.”

Detail means it’s possible to see item combinations for the first time, building a picture of how recipes or activities cost more.

The ingredients needed for a family pot of spaghetti bolognese cost £8.64 just a year ago, but rose to £9.99 last month, an increase of 15.6%.

The ingredients for a vegetarian stir-fry for four people, which cost just over £3.33 five years ago, are now almost £4, another 20% increase.

The cost of a single school lunch (a sandwich, a banana and a small yoghurt) increased by 8p between 2018 and 2022, but has now risen by another 44p, a jump of 20% in a single year.

Over the course of the school year in England, the same lunch box will cost a family £98.80 more than it did in 2018.

The cost of baby gear has skyrocketed, too: Powdered baby formula is now 25% more than it was in March 2018 and 12% more than a year ago.

Childcare fees for children under the age of four and the cost of a soft play session have also seen one of the biggest increases, both costing nearly 23% more than five years ago.

A night out, consisting of five hours of babysitting so a couple can go out to eat, share a bottle of wine, go to the theater and then catch a taxi home, will cost more than £150 today, £29 more than five years ago and £8 more than this time last year.

The price increases extend to both animal and human products and services. A can of dog food that cost just 62p in 2018 and rose to 78p last year will now cost its owner more than £1.

Toiletries and bathroom essentials, including women’s shampoo, tissues, hair gel and home dye kits, have risen in price, with shampoo rising 20% ​​in five years.

The price of emergency services – such as a visit from a plumber, a carpenter, an electrician or a domestic cleaner – has also risen by an average of 6% in five years. The increase has been particularly high for domestic cleaners, from £13 to £15 per hour, or 17% more per hour than in March 2018.

The UK headline annual inflation rate stood at 10.1% in March, the latest month for which data is available. This marks a drop from previous months; But inflation remains stubbornly high, fueled by food and drink prices rising by 19.1%, the fastest annual rate since 1977.

However, wage growth has not kept pace. Inflationary pressures drove regular earnings (average weekly earnings excluding bonuses) by just 5.7% in the nearest equivalent period (through February 2023).

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