SHOPPERS have been warned that food price rises could hit their pockets as bare supermarket shelves are spotted around the country.
Supply chain issues have resulted in shortages as Brits panic buy goods, and a shortfall in lorry drivers means not enough deliveries are being made to meet the demand.
Heinz's boss told customers to get used to higher prices, admitting that the company is increasing the cost of products including ketchup and baked beans.
While Morrisons has also warned the cost of goods will go up, and chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned shortages will hit families this Christmas.
The rise in prices will also help to drive up the cost of inflation, experts have warned, meaning a Brits could have to stump up an extra £1,800 by the end of the year just to get by.
However, there are ways to knock money off your food bill to beat the hikes – we explain six tips to help you save.
Yellow sticker shopping
Keep an eye out for yellow sticker food to get the biggest bargains.
Supermarkets will often reduce the price of food nearing its use by date to shift stock and avoid food wastage.
These items are usually tagged with yellow stickers, showing how much the item has been reduced by.
You can get up to 75% off products in some cases, so it's worth hunting for these deals if you're on a budget.
If you've spotted a bargain in this section but aren't sure you'll have time to eat it before it goes off, buy it and chuck it in the freezer, says money saving expert Naomi Willis.
Naomi, who runs finance blog Skint Dad with her husband Ricky, said: "Be more conscious of use by dates and freeze what you won’t use straight away to avoid throwing food away."
Make the most of loyalty schemes
Many supermarkets have schemes in place providing incentives – such as vouchers for money off your groceries – to incentivise shoppers to keep buying at their stores.
For example, Sainsbury's runs its Nectar card reward scheme, where customers receive points every time they shop in stores.
To get one Nectar point you need to spend £1 in Sainsbury’s store, or you get one Nectar point for every litre of fuel purchased in Sainsbury’s fuel stations.
The scheme now offers personalised discounts based on customers' shopping habits – and claims you can save £200 a year on your groceries.
Morrisons' has recently revamped its loyalty scheme too.
Instead of collecting points to get money off shopping, customers are now offered instant rewards when they spend money in stores.
We've previously explained which supermarket loyalty schemes are the best and worst value for money.
Plan your meals
It can be tempting to buy your groceries based on what you fancy at the time you're trawling round the aisles.
But this can be an expensive way of shopping – as you can often buy much more than you need.
Planning your meals in advance means that you can stick to a list of food you know you need – instead of buying food you want, according to savvy saver Charlotte Jessop.
Charlotte, who owns the money saving blog Looking After Your Pennies, said: "One of the best ways to save money on food is to meal plan.
"This means that you only buy what you need and therefore stops you from throwing away as much.
"If you combine this with checking your cupboards before you start your plan, you'll find that you can save loads of money by only buying exactly what you need."
Check price per quantity
Charlotte also saves cash on her shopping by checking the price per quantity on goods.
You might be tempted to opt for a bigger box or packaging because you think you might get more.
But it’s always worth checking the price per kg/lb/litre when comparing offers so you’re making a like for like decision.
"Rather than looking at the total cost, I look at how much it costs per 100g say," Charlotte said.
"This means that I can compare products more easily to check I am getting the best deal."
Use food waste apps
Families waste an average of £720 on unused food per year according to food charity Waste & Resources Action Programme.
But there are plenty of apps you can use that cut food waste and reduce your shopping bill – helping you save more and waste less.
For example, Kitche keeps track of the food you bought at the supermarket and lets you know when items are getting close to their sell by date – promising to save you £630 a year.
While Too Good To Go means you can buy food and treats from shops including Morrisons, Greggs and Pret at a big discount.
The app means shops can sell food that would only have been thrown away at the end of the day.
Shop at cheaper supermarkets
If you're in a rush or just don't want to trek further for your shopping, you might feel like taking a trip to your nearest store for your groceries.
But making time to travel further to that cheaper supermarket will help to drive down your bill.
Recent research from Which? showed that you could be paying £9 more for the same – or similar – items if you shopped at Waitrose compared to Aldi.
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