2023 Ulster Bank Ulster Fry Index

This morning, we presented the annual Ulster Bank Ulster Fry Index which indicates that the average price of all ingredients making up the traditional cooked breakfast plate rose sharply in the 12 months to the end of February, using the UK Retail Price Index (RPI). 

Milk saw the biggest price increase in the index with a rise of 42.9% throughout the previous 12 months, followed by strong rises in margarine (31.5%), eggs (29.3%), butter (25.4%) and sliced loaf (21.1%). 

Overall, the Ulster Fry Index rose by 19.1%, the highest increase recorded since Ulster Bank began tracking the index in 2007. The previous highest rise came in 2009, just after another recession and cost of living crisis. 

The price change in the various breakfast items in the Ulster Bank Ulster Fry Index in the past year are contained within the accompanying infographic. 

Food inflation has been a real concern for households in recent times, but these extremely high levels are likely to peak and ease. 

We know that food makes up a significant proportion of household spending and is also one of our most important economic drivers in terms of the local Food and Drink industry. So understanding how the price of these popular food items is changing gives us a useful insight into the state of typical household finances and also the overall health of the agri-food industry.

What the Ulster Fry Index is telling us is that the price of everyday household essentials such as bread and milk have risen beyond their previous peaks, and this coupled with rising energy bills is continuing to put a squeeze on consumer spending powers. 

While it may not deliver good news initially, the reality is however, that we can expect these rises to begin to level off and we may even see some decreases in the next 12 months. That said, this will bring little comfort to those households who are struggling to contend with double-digit inflation and ongoing cost pressures on what have previously been considered every day or basic household items.

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