Australian household staples have seen their most significant price increase in decades over the past year, forcing consumers to shop around for the best value.

The cost of milk, yoghurt and cheese are up 15 per cent from last year, while bread and cereals are up 12 per cent.

Dairy market analyst Michael Harvey, said price increases for milk and cheese have risen to the highest levels in over 20 years.

“It’s not record levels, but it’s certainly multi-decade highs, and it’s certainly quite significant by historical context,” Mr Harvey said.

“Until recently, dairy had kept price inflation relatively low, but the cost of producing milk had risen thanks to higher prices for fertiliser, feed, packaging, energy for processing, and distribution.

“Off the back of that, dairy processors have been passing on that higher cost of milk to consumers.”

Source Fonterra Australia

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the overall price of food rose eight per cent in the last quarter.

Source:Australian Bureau of Statistics

Australian families shopping on a budget are moving away from fresh produce and into frozen products, with some consumers opting to bulk buy or purchase canned and long-life products.

Compare the Market’s Chris Ford, says the price hike would impact Australian families who are already doing it tough.

“A price increase of a few dollars here and there may not seem like much, but it can have a significant impact on the weekly budget – especially if you’re doing a big grocery shop,” Mr Ford said.

“We know that the big supermarkets are trying to lure in customers by locking in or dropping prices, but our analysis shows that many of the essentials we shop for each week have increased since last year.

“Australia is currently experiencing a potato shortage, which could be why the vegetable has seen a steep price hike. Similarly, many fruits and vegetables are seasonal, so shoppers can expect to pay higher prices if their produce isn’t in season.”

Grocery inflation is also causing issues globally, with the United Kingdom last week reporting that its food prices had risen at the fastest rate in more than 45 years.


Some tips to help manage the price increase are shopping between several retailers, monitoring catalogues, using reward cards, signing up for loyalty programs, and researching what potential benefits could be available through your energy and insurance providers.

CREDIT: Tamara Robertson and Ellie Isemonger