As we all know, inflation has been rising and subsequently has hit a 40 year high of 9%.
Most reports will lead with the headline figure and use an example to communicate this, something along the lines of:
“A loaf of bread costs £1 one year and £1.09 the next year”.
Whilst the headline rate is useful to keep an eye on what’s happening, it is important to remember that this figure is an average of a “basket of goods”. Therefore, not all goods and services rise, or fall, at the same rate. Not everything gets more expensive over time!
As a result of this, some price changes are likely to impact most of us in some way, we all need heating, therefore energy prices will impact the majority. However, something like the cost of cooking oil is likely to impact fish and chip shops over somebody who primarily lives off microwave meals.
Let’s take a look at the change in average price over the last 12 months of a number of common goods:
|Product||Apr-21||Apr-22||Change (£)||Change (%)|
|White Bread (Loaf)||£1.08||£1.15||£0.07||6%|
|Tea Bags (250g)||£1.98||£2.09||£0.11||6%|
|Draught Lager (Pint)||£3.87||£4.08||£0.21||5%|
The above highlights the variance on the average price of products, ranging from a small decrease in grapes at -1% to petrol (not surprising) facing the highest increase at 30%. To answer the question of this article, a cup of tea would have increased by just over 6% (depending on how milky you like it!).
Importantly, none of the products have changed by the rate of inflation, emphasising that inflation will impact each one of us differently depending on our own unique spending habits.
If we increase the timeframe to 10 years, the change in average price of the same products is as follows:
|Product||Apr-12||Apr-22||Change (£)||Change (%)|
|White Bread (Loaf)||£1.20||£1.15||-£0.05||-4%|
|Tea Bags (250g)||£1.94||£2.09||£0.15||8%|
|Draught Lager (Pint)||£3.18||£4.08||£0.90||28%|
Over the extended timeframe, we can see that draught lager has seen the largest increase at 28%, whilst the average price of a loaf of white bread has fallen in cost.
If we convert the increase over 10 years to an annualised figure and compare this to the change in prices over the last 12 months, the position is as follows:
|Product||Last 12 Months Change||10 Year Annualised Change||Difference|
|White Bread (Loaf)||6%||-0.42%||-6.42%|
|Tea Bags (250g)||6%||0.75%||-5.25%|
|Draught Lager (Pint)||5%||2.52%||-2.48%|
What does the above tell us? Yes, inflation and changes in prices can seem daunting and have an impact on our day to day lives, but these can be short term trends and reflect certain conditions and events at that time. Much like investments, this can result in peaks and troughs in prices. If we expand the timeframe and look at the averages, the increases are not quite as daunting and offer some comfort.
Don’t ignore the inflation headlines, just take a moment, and consider the wider picture.