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In other inflation news, UK grocery prices climbed at their fastest rate in over eight years in February, according to data from market analysts Kantar, who warned the squeeze on shoppers will continue as a result of supply chain disruption and the conflict in Ukraine, writes my colleague Joanna Partridge.

Food price inflation reached 4.3% last month, the highest level seen since September 2013, as the price of items including savoury snacks, fresh beef and cat food rose the fastest. However the cost of some products, including bacon, beer, and spirits has been falling.

Britain’s households are already facing a cost of living crisis, after the UK’s annual inflation rate hit 5.5% in January, hitting its highest level in almost 30 years. However, even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, economists had predicted that there was more pain to come in April, when household energy bills will soar.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, predicted that food prices are likely to continue their climb:

Apart from the start of the pandemic, when we saw grocers cut promotional deals to maintain availability, this is the fastest rate of inflation we’ve recorded since September 2013.

Added to this, ongoing supply chain pressures and the potential impact of the conflict in Ukraine are set to continue pushing up prices paid by consumers.

A trolley of groceries is seen in the supermarket.

A trolley of groceries is seen in the supermarket. Photograph: Hesther Ng/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

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