How to manage your food budget and prepare for price increases

Now the Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU is in place, prices of consumer goods look set to remain steady. But, with the Covid-19 pandemic damaging the UK economy and potential new tariffs on trade with the EU in the future, it is important to start managing our spending, and especially our food budgets, closely.

Why might food prices increase now we are not in the EU?

Even with a trade deal, prices on consumer products from the EU could still rise. Over 25% of the UK’s food is produced in the EU. Being outside the trading bloc means trading conditions will be evaluated regularly, with a possibility of import tariffs being placed on products from outside the UK.

Not much will change any time soon, but it will be useful to prepare for price hikes in the future.

Which foods are likely to cost more in the future?

The UK primarily imports meat, fruit, vegetables and cheese from the EU. In the event of import tariffs, it is predicted the cost of chicken and pork products would rise. Staple fruit and vegetables, such as spinach and peaches, could rise in cost over 12%. While popular cheeses such as brie, halloumi and Roquefort would all become more expensive.

How to prioritise your shopping list to get the most for your money

A prioritised shopping list makes it easier to cut costs. Cut the snacks and sugar out first. Keep health and nutrition at the top of your list, and don’t compromise on nutrient-dense food.

Then, prioritise long-lasting products such as canned and dried goods. This will save you throwing out expired products constantly. Buy perishable products like fruit and veg but be mindful to use them before they go off.

How meal planning can help you cut costs at the checkout

Meal planning your week and putting together a clear shopping list will cut down on waste, both in terms of food and financially. When you shop knowing exactly what you need to feed yourself or your family, you can reduce expenditure on impulse purchases when at the supermarket.

Cultivating a financially sustainable food shopping habit can benefit other areas in your life too. It could be worthwhile checking your overall financial health and looking at what options you have to help manage your finances in a sustainable way.