U.S. markets closed

Lockdown price hikes for beans and cleaning spray

Baked beans have been consistently pricier during lockdown.

Supermarkets have been charging more for baked beans and cleaning spray since the UK went into lockdown in March.

The Office for National Statistics has been tracking prices of high-demand products throughout the coronavirus crisis.

On average, spray cleaning products are nearly 5% more expensive than in March, while beans cost almost 3% more.

The ONS says overall prices for high-demand products have remained stable.

More chores

Early in the pandemic, supermarkets including Lidl and Tesco limited the amount of tinned foods customers could buy amid fears that food shortages could be caused by shoppers stockpiling certain goods.

With many people taking on more chores at home during the lockdown, and some choosing to disinfect items brought in from outside, demand for spray cleaning products has also increased.

Statisticians tracked online prices for goods from several major UK retailers for 13 weeks, from just before the UK went into lockdown to 14 June.

"We began scraping prices on the 16 March for items that were subject to stockpiling early on in the pandemic, such as toilet paper, medication and long-life foods," said ONS prices statistician Helen Sands.

While the prices of those goods have stayed relatively consistent, the cost of tinned beans and spray cleaning products have increased, she said.

A Tesco spokesperson said the supermarket had not increased the price of either cleaning spray or beans, and any price rises across its range were due to the fact it stopped multi-buy offers on some products to stop shoppers stockpiling essential items.

The ONS says the cost of a sample group of basic foods including pasta, flour and tinned soup increased 1% overall since mid-March, while a selection of household hygiene products went up by 1.1%.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has also been tracking grocery data during the coronavirus crisis.

It found a fall in supermarket promotions during the first month of lockdown helped cause a 2.4% rise in the price of groceries in one month.

A Sainsbury's spokeswoman said the supermarket didn't increase prices on tinned beans or cleaning spray, while other retailers contacted by the BBC didn't respond to a request for comment.