‘Staggering number of adults turning to petty theft’ owing to rising food inflation

New research commissioned by money-saving app and consumer champion Zipzero has revealed the desperate steps Britons are taking as food inflation continues to spiral.

Original Article by Tony Corbin.

It found that:
  • One in five adults say that they have sought financial support due to rising food prices

Meanwhile, in the past 12 months:

  • 1 in 25 adults have intentionally skipped or incorrectly scanned items at a self-checkout
    • This figure doubles to 1 in 10 among 18-34-year-olds
  • 8% have used their overdraft or a credit card to pay for food
  • 5% of adults have started using food banks
  • 6% have had to borrow money from friends or family to cover essential food purchases

Zipzero commissioned an independent survey amongst 2,000 adults to understand how the increasing price of food is impacting households across the country.

This comes as most recent estimates from the ONS record a staggering 19.2% rise in the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages year-on-year from March 2022.

The monetary impacts are widespread, with 1-in-5 adults having to seek financial support to cope.

The research found that younger adults, aged between 18-34, were suffering disproportionately, with 37% seeking financial support compared to 5% of those aged over 55.

When asked about the actions they have taken to reduce food expenditure over the past 12 months, 8% said they have used an overdraft or a credit card to pay for food, while 6% have had to borrow money from friends or family to cover the cost.

Meanwhile, many adults have turned to more extreme measures to reduce expenditure over the past 12 months, with 1 in 25 adults admitting that they intentionally skip out or incorrectly scan items when using self-checkout services. This figure rises to 1 in 10 among those aged 18-34.

A further 1 in 20 adults have turned to food banks to reduce their household shopping bills.

Mohsin Rashid, chief executive of Zipzero, said: “With Winter over, food inflation is now comfortably the biggest threat behind the cost-of-living crisis. Over the past few months, it has consistently been one of the biggest drivers of overall inflation, and our research highlights its devastating consequences.

“The rising price of food is massively destabilising household finances. With 1 in 5 adults seeking financial support, and double this number for young adults, there can be no doubt that food inflation is raising poverty levels in the country.

“The resilience and tenacity of Britons have been remarkable, with many finding new savvy ways to cut spending. But we are running out of room to manoeuvre.

“With a staggering number of adults actively turning to petty theft and food banks to reduce costs, food inflation is changing social norms and redefining life standards in the UK. Sector-wide intervention, akin to the Energy Support scheme, is needed to prevent this crisis from spiralling further.”

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