How to cope with cost of Christmas price hike

Increasing cost of Christmas food shop (photo: Adobe)Increasing cost of Christmas food shop (photo: Adobe)
Increasing cost of Christmas food shop (photo: Adobe)
​With the festive season upon us this week consumer expert, Angela Terry, looks at the ever-increasing cost of the big Christmas food shop.

​I’ve been doing my Christmas food shopping and everything seems so much more expensive, is it manufacturers hiking up prices?

You’re not alone in finding things more expensive – everyone’s food shop goes up at Christmas, partly down to the chocolates and treats that end up in the trolley and partly down to the fact a lot of us cater for family members and friends we wouldn’t normally feed.

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The average Christmas day host will spend just under £900 on the day itself.

Swap TV for a board game at Christmas (photo: Adobe)Swap TV for a board game at Christmas (photo: Adobe)
Swap TV for a board game at Christmas (photo: Adobe)

However, there’s a devastating reason shopping trolleys and baskets are costing more now than they ever have and that’s because of climate change.

In fact, UK families are spending a massive £605 more than they did two years ago on food and it’s extreme weather blighting crops and yields that has pushed food prices through the roof.

UK flooding has left potato crops rotting so potatoes are smaller. Heat and droughts in Spain have savaged the olive crop which affects olive oil yield as well as actual olives.

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Research from Bournemouth, Exeter and Sheffield universities has concluded climate change and unseasonal weather is at the root cause of the cost hikes.

Since the start of 2022 £361 of the increases are down to climate change and £244 to oil and gas price hikes.

What makes things even harder is the fact that around 17 percent of families in the UK are experiencing food insecurity meaning they don't have enough food to feed everyone.

There’s a very imperfect storm happening with food production too, not just in the UK and Europe but across the world too.

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The International Labour Organisation has predicted that heatwaves will reduce working hours worldwide by two per cent by 2030 – that’ll have an impact on crop yields and what can be planted and harvested. It’s the equivalent to around 80 million full time jobs and a cost of over $2400 billion globally.

With all of this in mind, it’s no wonder there’s a huge drive towards sustainable food production and there are certain things we can do to mitigate cost rises. Eating seasonally, eating less meat and dairy, eating more beans and lentils and grains as these have lower greenhouse emissions in their production.

There are ways to keep the Christmas shop down by not buying excess and only shopping for what you’ve menu planned but there’s no denying that food costs are going up and hitting families hard. Reacting now and changing diets to suit lower cost foods that are better for the planet as well, will help reduce costs as with the impact of climate change hastening pace, the cost increases we know so far will only rise in the long term.

Celebrity spot

World Athletics president Seb Coe has said sports has to take responsibility to avert the climate crisis. "I genuinely don't think governments are going to meet any of the targets that are being identified. And this is very much a personal view, I'm not speaking on behalf of World Athletics. It's something that I have felt very strongly about for a long time. Constituent groups like sport are going to have to figure this out for themselves, because I don't think we can rely on governments to remotely get to grips with what is going to be a massive shift in reality in the next few years. There are countries in our federation that will probably not be in existence in the next 20 years because of rising sea levels.”

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Green swap

Swap the TV for a board game this festive season. Not only will switching it off save a bit when it comes to energy costs, you’ll also get to enjoy some quieter family time which can often be in short supply this time of year.

Counting cost of Christmas as host or guest

It’s that time of year again, Christmas is here and broadly speaking, most of us will fall into one of two categories of either hosting or being hosted for Christmas by family or friends.

The costs of hosting Christmas don’t just end with food though. It might not seem like much but a string of 100 Christmas lights cost around 14 pence a day to run – that’s over £4 for a month, much more if you have lights outside or more than one string on your tree – that’s around the same cost as three Terry’s Chocolate Oranges.

New research has also found lots of UK homes are putting up less lights to save on energy costs. In fact, 23 per cent of UK homes have said they’re reducing the number of lights with 18 percent of homes saying they’re forgoing lights completely this festive season to save on costs.

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There are definitely ways you can save money on energy and fuel costs this Christmas though, and lights are a good place to start. Most houses now have LED lights which use up to 90 percent less energy than traditional incandescent lights so if you still have halogen downlights definitely change them to LEDs – the environment and your wallet will thank you for it.

When it comes to Christmas Day itself, with the oven on for the majority of the day, there’ll be plenty of homes who won’t need to turn the heating on much. Not only will the oven help heat your home but with more people around on Christmas day and the energy of board games or Twister, people will naturally feel a bit warmer and cosy too.

When it comes to cooking, keeping the lids on pans not only uses 10 percent less energy but it also helps the food cook quicker and reduce condensation.

If you’re driving anywhere for Christmas, make sure your tyres are inflated to the recommended amount too. Under inflated tyres increase fuel consumption so you can save yourself money at the pump.

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There are plenty of savings to be made around the big day itself too, when it comes to washing the Christmas jumpers and the festive tablecloth, washing at 30 degrees, or lower, will save energy and over the course of a year not only will it reduce carbon emissions by 12kg, it’ll also save around £10 a year.

There can be plenty of wasted food at Christmas and while there are lots of recipe ideas online, a good old fashioned bubble and squeak or hash with an egg on top is a great way to use things like veggies and spuds that can get forgotten.

I’m not suggesting for a second we all turn into Christmas grinches when it comes to energy costs this time of year but a bit of thinking and planning can make a big difference.

Fact or fiction

A quarter of the world’s renewable energy capacity is in Asia.

Fiction. Almost half – 48 percent of renewable energy capacity is in Asia, 21 percent in Europe, 15 percent in North America and eight per cent in South America.