What the price of Lurpak reveals about the soaring cost of your weekly shop

It’s a staple in fridges across the country, but the price of Lurpak keeps going up. Yahoo UK breaks down what's going on

TARLETON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 22: Lurpak butter is seen for sale at the new Tarleton Aldi store on July 22, 2022 in Tarleton, United Kingdom.  Aldi is the UK’s fifth largest supermarket chain and has 950 stores. The new Aldi store is the first in the Preston area. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Lurpak for sale in an Aldi store in Tarleton. (Getty Images)

It’s a staple in fridges across the country.

But with food inflation at record levels amid the cost of living crisis, the steep price hike for a tub of Lurpak is horrifying shoppers. Scores of social media users have been posting about their shock at the cost, with the company’s name trending on Twitter numerous times in recent months.

Yahoo News UK breaks down what the soaring price of Lurpak reveals about your weekly shop in 10 points

Food prices soaring: The price of Lurpak has been driven up along with various other foods. Official figures released this month showed general food prices hit another 45-year high. It’s a result of more expensive raw materials, which is partly a consequence of the war in Ukraine.

More than 20% increase: According to supermarket price comparison website Trolley, the average price of a Lurpak product is now £3.84, up 68p - or 21.5% - from January last year. Its signature “Slightly Salted Spreadable (500g)” now has an average cost of £4.58, up 83p (22.1%) from 12 months ago.

The Lurpak product which has increased most: The biggest surge in price has been for Lurpak’s “Lighter Slightly Spreadable Blend of Butter with Rapeseed Oil (500g)”, up £1.37 (37.7%) from a year ago. Rapeseed oil has also been one of the products facing huge inflationary rises.

Why it's happening: Arla Foods, which owns Lurpak, has blamed the increases on the “all-time high” cost of producing milk. It said the materials needed to produce it, like animal feed and fertiliser, have risen and also means less milk is produced. Arla said “some” of the cost increases have been passed onto customers and that they have tried to "ensure our farmers receive a fair price for the milk they produce".

The overall picture: General food and drink inflation is continuing to soar. The latest official figures, released last week, showed prices increased by 16.8% in the year to December, up from 16.4% in November and also marking the highest level since September 1977.

It's not just Lurpak: Lurpak’s 21.5% increase in price is above the 16.8% overall rate. But it is by no means alone: some products are seeing enormous hikes around the 40% mark. They include low-fat milk (46%), olive oil (39.5%), whole milk (38.5%) and sugar (38.5%).

Why is food inflation so high? Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said of the latest food inflation figures: “As the war in Ukraine continues, so does the pressure on energy and food prices, particularly for animal feed and fertiliser, which drove up the price of many household staples.”

Is it going to come down any time soon? The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) has anticipated inflation will peak at 17% to 19% in the first quarter of 2023 and "then decline slowly" (see chart, below). However, it added: "It is possible that further supply chain shocks (e.g. a poor harvest, a further decline in the strength of Sterling) will cause inflation to persist."

The IGD's food inflation forecast. (IGD)
The IGD's food inflation forecast. (IGD)

Who is the worst affected? Low-income households. As the Office for National Statistics (ONS) pointed out last month, it's the low-cost essentials - like pasta and bread - which have surged in price. This hits the most vulnerable, with 61% in the most deprived areas buying less food compared to last year, as opposed to 44% in the least deprived areas.

'This will end': James Walton, chief economist of the IGD, said in November: “Consumers will be looking to the food industry to keep prices affordable. We know that inflation will eventually come to an end, and we will start to see significant drivers of overall inflation begin to drop off over the coming months."