Food costs: '£50 chickens' if food tracked house prices

  • 7 February 2013
  • From the section Business
Image caption If food inflation had followed house price rises, a chicken might cost £50

If the price of food had risen as quickly as the price of houses over the last 40 years, we would now be paying more than £50 for a single chicken, according to the housing charity Shelter.

The charity says that since the early 1970s, house prices have risen far faster than grocery bills.

In 1971 an average home in Britain cost less than £6,000.

Forty years on, it had shot up to £245,000.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), suggest that houses are now 43 times more expensive than they were then.

Applying the same rate of inflation to food prices, Shelter says a chicken would now cost £51, and a four-pint bottle of milk would cost £10.

It says on average a family weekly shop would cost more than £450.


Image caption Shelter says a four pint carton of milk would cost £10, if food inflation followed house prices

Shelter argues that such high food costs would be unacceptable.

"Yet when it comes to the huge rise in the cost of buying a home, somehow this is seen as normal," said Shelter's chief executive, Campbell Robb.

"The next generation will find it even tougher to find a stable and affordable home," he said.

A recent poll for Shelter found that 59% of adults who don't own a home believe they will never be able to afford to buy in the area where they live.

The report says that if food price inflation was as high as house price inflation, a leg of lamb would now cost £53, and a loaf of bread would cost more than £4.

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