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Can you guess how much milk has really rocketed in price?

Milk is one of the most competitive items on a supermarket's shelf. (PA)
Milk is one of the most competitive items on a supermarket's shelf. (PA)

You may have noticed in recent months one particular item in your weekly shop that has shot up in price: milk.

A report by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) released on Wednesday said the reason for most food inflation was because of the rise in cost producers have faced.

The CMA's report looked at 10 different categories in total including milk, poultry, chilled desserts, ready meals and lemonade.

Food inflation currently sits at 10.1%, far higher than in previous years and more than double the overall rate of 4.6%.

Why is the price of food going up?

In their report, the CMA outlined why food inflation has outstripped other categories by so much.

They pointed it all to the invasion of Ukraine as the starting point for the rocketing prices, but also noted labour shortages and severe weather events as other causes.

The CMA said this meant producers had faced cost increases across the board in areas like energy, fertiliser and staff wages. It said the cost of packaging had also risen sharply.

This environment of costs going up across the board has led to products on shelves all going up, but the CMA said some had risen more than others.

They said there was evidence that some branded producers were adding extra profits on top of the price rises caused by their cost increases.

Over the last two years, three in four suppliers of infant formula, baked beans, pet food and mayonnaise have added to their profit, it found.

However, in all but one of these cases, customers have switched to cheaper alternatives as a result.

The exception is infant formula where just two companies account for 85% of sales with the CMA saying there is “very limited availability” of own-brand alternatives.

Can you guess how much milk has gone up?

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Why has the price of milk changed?

The cost of managing a dairy farm has shot up. (Getty)
The cost of managing a dairy farm has shot up. (Getty)

Although milk was one of the categories analysed by the CMA they noted some key differences between it and other typical items you find on supermarket shelves.

Most importantly milk is almost always own-brand, there's very few branded milk varieties around.

For the branded milk that is available, the CMA noted the price difference with own-branded milk had only increased by 5% between September 2021 and September 2023.

This is compared to branded baked beans increasing by 40% more than own-branded in the same period.

This in turn has led to milk not rising as much as branded products since the start of the cost of living crisis and has been decreasing since April 2023, according to the CMA.

A similar trend can be seen in the price of poultry, another product that is most commonly sold as an own-brand.

However, milk and dairy as a whole is one of the industries that has been hit hardest by increases in the price of things like energy and animal feed.