Do you know the price of a pint of milk? These Brits don’t

Do you know the price of a pint of milk? These Brits don’t Image source: Getty Images.

It’s no secret that the price of food, including family favourites like beans and ketchup, is rising. But a recent survey by alternative banking provider Suits Me has found that many of us think essential groceries are more expensive than they really are.

So, do you know how much a loaf and a pint of milk will set you back? Might you be pleasantly surprised by the actual price?

Is it higher or lower?

Suits Me surveyed 2,000 UK adults and asked them to estimate basket essentials according to price data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Most respondents overestimated the cost of groceries and thought they were more than double the ONS prices.

The biggest differences between ONS prices and respondents’ guesstimates included staples like a roasting chicken, potatoes and sugar, which all cost less than people thought. On the other hand, many seriously underestimated the cost of minced beef, butter and eggs.

The greatest discrepancy between ONS figures and consumers’ guesses was over the price of a kilo of cheese. which according to the ONS, a 1kg pack of cheddar costs £6.21. Wishful thinking put shopper estimates at £3.10 – sad times for the cheeseboard.

What were the price differences?

How do you think you would fare if asked to price a pint or cost up coffee and carrots? The results of the survey show that the average person really isn’t sure.

Grocery prices shoppers overestimated
Item ONS price Respondent estimate (average) Price difference
Roasting chicken £2.76 £3.80 £1.04
Potatoes (1kg) £0.71 £1.60 £0.89
Granulated sugar (1kg) £0.71 £1.40 £0.69
Carrots (1kg) £0.51 £1.10 £0.59
Pint of milk £0.43 £1.00 £0.57
Teabags (250g) £1.99 £2.40 £0.41
Loaf of bread (800g) £1.07 £1.20 £0.13
Grocery prices shoppers underestimated
Item ONS price Respondent estimate (average) Price difference
Cheddar cheese (1kg) £6.21 £3.10 £3.11
Minced beef (1kg) £6.14 £3.30 £2.84
Spreadable butter (500g) £3.28 £1.90 £1.38
Eggs £2.14 £1.90 £0.24
Instant coffee (100g) £2.77 £2.70 £0.07

Why are food prices rising in the UK?

Food prices are rising thanks to a combination of factors. The cost of raw food ingredients measured by the UN’s Food Price Index has increased. The figures for October 2021 show that prices rose for the third month in a row (up 3% from September).

Plus, there’s the ongoing supply chain problem. Shortages of shipping containers are preventing some items from making it here in the first place. And let’s not forget the lack of lorry drivers that hit the headlines earlier in the autumn. It might not be in the news as much now, but the problem hasn’t magically gone away.

How can households stretch their food budgets?

Apart from budgeting and reviewing all your household expenses, there are a few simple things you can do to help stretch your food budget, including:

1. Plan weekly food menus

I was skeptical about this at first, but I tried it and it really does work. If I stuck to the plan and only bought what I needed, it meant I didn’t get sucked in by offers on things I didn’t need (which inevitably wind up in the composting bin). 

2. Look for special offers and compare prices

while this might seem to contradict the first point, there will be cupboard staples you regularly buy that are on offer, so stock up on tins and non-perishables when they’re discounted.

we all have our favourite supermarkets, but if price is your priority, you can compare prices and offers at

3. Bake at home

I know not everyone likes baking, but a homemade cake doubles up as both a snack and pudding – which are essential foods according to my children. The basic ingredients might set you back to start with, but you can make a few cakes with one bag of flour and sugar and then buy your fresh ingredients when you need them. 

4. Buy short-dated groceries

you can buy a wide range of discounted household and food items that are close to or just past their ‘best before’ dates from the Approved Food website. There’s a minimum spend for free delivery, but if you’re not sniffy about best before dates, then it could be worth checking out. 

Make more and freeze

If you’re buying in bulk and making the most of discounts, batch cooking and freezing can help eke out the budget.

For more ideas, check out our tips for budgeting your money. You can also keep credit card debt this Christmas by following our five tips for planning and budgeting

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