Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Branded baked beans and baby formula prices hiked faster than costs – watchdog

Infant formula prices have soared 25% in two years (Yui Mok/PA)
Infant formula prices have soared 25% in two years (Yui Mok/PA)

Three in four companies that make branded baked beans, mayonnaise, infant formula and pet food have hiked their prices faster than their costs have gone up during the cost-of-living crisis, a new review by the competition watchdog has found.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) also said that it would launch a new review into supermarkets which only offer discounted prices to customers who sign up to their loyalty schemes.

The watchdog plans a separate probe into the highly concentrated baby formula market, where just two companies account for 85% of sales.

The CMA said on Wednesday that most of the food price inflation in recent years has been driven by the rises in costs that companies have faced.

Everything from energy prices to fertiliser costs to the wages they pay their staff have soared for many food suppliers.

But it said there was evidence that some branded producers were adding extra profits on top of the price rises caused by their cost increases.

Over the last two years, three in four suppliers of infant formula, baked beans, pet food and mayonnaise have added to their profit, it found.

However in all but one of these cases customers have switched to cheaper alternatives as a result. This had led to an overall decline in these brands’ market shares and their profits.

“This switching is positive for competition and allows those able to switch to lessen the impact of high food price inflation,” the CMA said.

But the one exception is infant formula, the CMA said. The watchdog announced that it would start a separate review into the infant formula market.

Just two suppliers account for 85% of infant formula sales, it said, and there is “very limited availability” of own brand alternatives.

This means that few parents have switched as prices have risen. The CMA said that infant formula prices were up 25% over two years.

“We’re concerned that parents may not always have the right information to make informed choices and that suppliers may not have strong incentives to offer infant formula at competitive prices,” said CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell.

The watchdog also said that it would look more closely at supermarket loyalty schemes.

In recent years shops like Tesco and Sainsbury’s have launched schemes which give loyalty card holders significant discounts on some items in their weekly shop.

“This raises a number of questions about the impact of loyalty scheme pricing on consumers and competition and the CMA will launch a review in January 2024,” Ms Cardell said.

She added: “”Food price inflation has put huge strain on household budgets, so it is vital competition issues aren’t adding to the problem.

“While in most cases the leading brands have raised prices more than their own cost increases, own label products are generally providing cheaper alternatives.”