PRICES for olive oil, sugar and low-fat milk have surged with food costs continuing to fuel inflation in the UK.
The goods have all increased by more than 40% in the year to January, official figures show, with food inflation remaining at a 45-year high.
Overall UK price inflation fell to 10.1% last month from 10.5% in December, driven by decreases in fuel prices and the cost of dining out.
To calculate inflation, which measures the increase in the price of something over time, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) keeps track of the prices of hundreds of everyday items.
If it falls, it does not mean the prices of goods are going down, it just means prices are rising more slowly.
Grocery prices are one of the main drivers fuelling overall inflation, along with energy bills, according to the ONS. Food prices remained high at 16.7% in the year to January, a slight dip from 16.8% in December.
Olive oil prices rose 44.6% in the year to January, while low-fat milk was up 45.2%. Cheese prices rose more than 30%, and butter and egg prices were up by more than 20%.
Both food and energy bills have been rising following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago, with supplies of both commodities being disrupted.
But in the case of olive oil, prices are higher largely due to a supply shortage caused by the weather, with summer heatwaves hitting crops in Spain, a huge exporter of the product.
Kyle Holland, analyst of oils and oil seed prices at commodity price data firm Mintec, said because of the dry conditions, olive trees produced less olives last year, meaning production in Spain was down to 720,000 metric tonnes, from the usual 1.5 million.