Almost half of people in the UK have cut back on food purchases, while others are having to spend more on their shopping as the cost of living surges.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published on Friday, show that 49% of Britons said they bought less food than normal between 22 June and 3 July, up from just 8% when the survey began in September 2021.
In the previous survey, between 8 June and 19 June, only 43% of adults said that they were buying less food.
Another 48% said they had needed to spend more than usual on their food shopping. Overall, 91% of people said their cost of living had risen over the past month.
The same proportion also said they had done at least one thing to reduce their energy bills.
New data on public opinions and social trends in Great Britain (22 June to 3 July 2022) shows that 91% of adults reported an increase in their cost of living.
This has increased from 62% in early November 2021 https://t.co/zTj0NFOsgO pic.twitter.com/LyOM31mwFz
— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) July 8, 2022
Inflation hit a 40-year high of 9.1% in May, with food and drink prices up 8.6%.
The ONS said rising prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages, compared with falls a year ago, resulted in the largest upward contribution to the annual rate of inflation.
The Bank of England expects price rises to peak above 11% in October when the energy price cap jumps again. Citi Bank has forecast that food price inflation will hit 20% by early next year.
The ONS numbers match reports from major grocers showing UK shoppers are under increasing financial pressure as household budgets are squeezed.
Grocery sales fell 2.4% in the period, partly reflecting strong comparative figures from last year when the hospitality industry was largely closed due to lockdowns.
Tesco (TSCO.L) said customers were making smaller, more frequent shopping trips and buying cheaper own-brand items.