Annual food inflation was pushed down to a three year low of 1.3 per cent in February from 2.9 per cent in January, according to a report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen. The fall was driven by 0.3 per cent deflation in fresh food, as the price of vegetables and fish fell.
The BRC and Nielsen said that it was the first time that any section of the food category had exhibited deflation since the series started in December 2006. The figures are in stark comparison to fresh food inflation in February 2009, which reached a rate of 10.2 per cent.
The report said competition within the grocery market was putting a downward pressure on prices. Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said lower food inflation was "great news" for consumers.
"Previous falls in the value of the pound and large commodity price increases, which were pushing up food prices, have now largely worked through. Barring any lasting shocks, the price of food should continue to be relatively stable for some time," he said.
Annual shop price inflation fell to 1.7 per cent in February from 2.3 per cent in January, while non-food inflation was static at 1.9 per cent.