For many of us, there always comes a time for counting the pennies. With news over the past few months to years about inflation hitting all-new highs, the average grocery bill in the UK is only likely to escalate.
Before looking into how you can cut the costs of what you spend on food and drink each month, it’s worth taking a look at what other people pay on average. Keep in mind that we all have different needs and wants – and that your family of three may not spend as much as next door’s family of six, and several pets!
I’ve taken a look at some of the average figures relating to average grocery spending in the UK right now. I’ve based this data on general information from the Office of National Statistics’ report on Family Spending in the UK.
However, these rates date up to spring 2021, so prior to the war in Ukraine and the associated spikes in prices that resulted. It’s worth adding £10 or more to the total to head in a more accurate direction.
Given that inflation in the UK has only just recently risen again at the time of writing, it’s worth taking all these figures with a pinch of salt. Consider your own needs and budget accordingly!
Food price rises in the UK
At the time of writing and publishing, the Bank of England announced that its base rate is going up in light of the continued cost of living crisis. According to research from Kantar, grocery shopping inflation increased to as much as 13.9% – the highest it’s been since 2008. Even in to December 2022 food inflation continued to remain high, clocking in at 13.3%, which is higher than the reported data from November.
To the average household, this means that you may expect your yearly grocery bills to increase by anywhere between £500 and £600. With this state of inflation showing little sign of slowing down, it’s early days to really say where it’s likely to stop.
Therefore, the figures I’ve arranged for you below will be subject to change – and you may even be paying more by the time you come to read this guide. Use my findings as a benchmark for what you may expect to pay at the very least.
Do also keep in mind that my figures reflect food and non-alcoholic drink costs. These rates are purely used to demonstrate what you may need to pay each month to keep everyone at home safely fed and watered!
What might affect the cost of my grocery shop?
There are a few versatile factors that can increase or decrease the cost of your regular grocery shopping in the UK, for example, where you live, and how many people you are buying for.
Where you shop, too, has a large impact on what you pay. While supermarket brands such as Tesco and Morrisons remain extremely popular, more budget-friendly stores such as Aldi and Lidl have grown in popularity as they offer similar quality items at much lower prices.
Of course, your caloric needs will affect how much you spend, too! Highly active people may find they spend more on calorie-dense foods, for example. There’s also the fact that certain times of year – such as Christmas and New Year – may demand higher investments from you month to month.
How much should one person spend on food per month in the UK?
The average grocery bill for 1 person in the UK sits at around £140-£150 per month. This means that on a weekly basis, the average grocery bill for one person in the UK should be around £35. Again, this is subject to inflation and cost of living increases, which can impact the British economy at any time.
This cost is also likely to increase if you are highly active and demand more calories. Again, it’s also going to change if you choose to shop every week at Waitrose rather than Sainsburys! Similarly, purchasing organic or imported exotic foods will also drive up this average figure to a higher number.
Keep in mind, too, that this figure only covers you for food that you buy for home cooking and consumption. If you’re likely to eat out a lot at work or at the weekend, these costs will escalate. More so, in fact, given that many restaurants and public businesses are having to raise their rates to cope with the increasing cost of living!
The price you pay for food per month as a single person in the UK will also depend on how much money you make. Statistics show that people who earn between £17,000 and £28,000 per year are likely to spend around 25% less on their weekly food shopping than people who earn over £66,000 per year.
What is the average grocery bill for 2 in the UK?
The average grocery bill for 2 adults in the UK sits at around £280-£300 per month. This means that on a weekly basis, the average grocery spend for two people in the UK should be around £70. Again, this is subject to inflation and cost of living increases, which can impact the British economy at any time.
How much does it cost to feed a child in the UK per month?
The average cost of feeding a child in the UK per month sits at around £110-£130. Again, costs may vary depending on the age of your children, and their caloric needs.
Kids and teenagers can also develop very expensive tastes! As kids, we may remember preferring ‘named brands’ to supermarket-own choices, and many of us were slaves to clever marketing and advertising! As such, these figures do take a little corporate cajoling into account.
If you’re feeding your child three nutritious meals per day for less than £120 per month, you’re likely budgeting well. If not, you may need to reconsider your brand choices, or look at being more creative with the meals you make for your little ones. They should never go wanting – it just means you have to get smarter about how to cut down the cost of their groceries (after yours, of course!).
How much should a four-person family spend on groceries in the UK?
On average, based on a family of two adults and two children, you may expect to spend around at least £500 – possibly as high as £600 – per month on groceries.
Again, this is just an average representation pre current inflation levels, and it’s based entirely on calculating the figures I’ve shared with you above. As your kids get older, their caloric needs will change, and you’ll need to increase your budget. If your kids leave home, you can naturally reduce your budget as you see fit.
How much should I spend on pet food per month?
You’re likely to spend anywhere between £40 to £70 on cat food or dog food per month in the UK, but this depends on your pet’s age, size, breed and activity levels.
Again, pets can be fussy – meaning you’ll have to do a little shopping around with some trial and error as to what your furry friends prefer. Do also consider that some pets need specific diets – such as raw food, roughage, and vegetables. Some brands can really increase the costs – so be willing to compare different flavours, mixes and always be careful with cheap ingredients.
Don’t ever forget budgeting for your pets each month – after all, they are members of the family, too!
How can I cut back on how much I spend each month on groceries?
Knowing how much to spend on groceries every month in the UK isn’t easy but it is important. It’s important to ensure that you stock your kitchen with healthy foods, without breaking the bank. To do this, it’s best to create a budget and stick to it. Start by making sure you list all the healthy items you need for the month and then use grocery-comparison tools to compare prices, allowing you to get more for less.
Additionally, opting for healthy unprocessed foods when possible can also make a big difference as these are often cheaper than pre-packaged options with additives. There are plenty of other ways for you to cut back the costs of monthly groceries. In fact, I’ve published a variety of guides across Project Financially Free to help ease the pressure of not just food shopping, but across the entire gamut of your expenses.
Ultimately, you need to be able to feed your family – and sadly, the cost of living spikes are making it tougher for all of us to budget cheaply for some of the meals we enjoy the most.
However, there are always ways you can make monthly budgets work to your advantage! Use the figures I’ve sourced for you above as a starting point, and keep an open mind – hopefully, inflation will ease the pressures eventually and we can all get back to more predictable budgeting for the years to come!
by Jon Craig
I am the creator of Project Financially Free and I started this journey to both educate myself and share my insights on personal finance. I’m passionate about financial literacy and I invite you to join me on this transformative path. See more.