In response to the skyrocketing price of instant coffee, a supermarket in Harborne, Birmingham, has resorted to safeguarding jars of coffee in security cases.

Priced at an astonishing £10.50 per jar, these GPS-trackable cases aim to deter potential shoplifters. The Co-op food and petrol shop has taken this security measure, prioritising the safety of their staff amidst concerns about escalating theft incidents.

The decision to deploy the GPS tracking cases spotted on the shelves on 30 May, follows the alarming trend of price surges affecting various products at UK supermarkets. A recent report reveals that coffee, chocolate and non-food items have contributed significantly to the rising cost of groceries during the year leading up to May.

Captured images from the Birmingham store display the eye-watering prices of popular instant coffee brands. A jar of Douwe Egberts retails for £9.85 while Kenco Smooth carries an even higher price tag of £10.50.

These jars, encased in security packaging, serve as a deterrent against theft, reports the digital newspaper the London Economic. Shoppers are explicitly cautioned that the cases must be removed at the checkout counter before leaving the store, and any attempts to shoplift will be met with legal consequences.

Rising grocery prices alarm consumers

Expressing disbelief at the exorbitant cost, one shopper remarked: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. That price for a jar of instant coffee is unbelievable.” The escalating prices of everyday grocery items have sparked widespread astonishment and concern among consumers.

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By GlobalData

According to a spokesperson from the Co-op, protecting the well-being of their staff remains a top priority.

Recognising that shoplifting incidents often escalate into violent encounters, they affirm that implementing product security measures on a local level is a viable solution when specific stores face heightened challenges. While it is not a nationwide policy, such measures are enacted to address specific issues encountered by individual stores.

This recent development reflects a broader trend of rising prices for essential food items. Instant coffee has joined the growing list of products that have experienced significant price hikes.

In the past, shoppers were astounded by the £9.35 price tag on Lurpak in Iceland. More recently, Aldi playfully highlighted a retail price of £5.39 for McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives at one of their stores.

Retailers promise to lower dairy prices due to wholesale cuts

Earlier this month, UK supermarkets assured consumers that the cost of their food shopping experience would gradually decrease in the coming months. However, figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) indicate that food prices saw a staggering increase of 15.7% in April 2023 compared to the previous year.

The discrepancy between the global decline in wholesale food prices and the lack of corresponding reductions on UK supermarket shelves has raised questions regarding the industry’s pricing practices.

Despite this disparity, the BRC assures consumers that supermarkets will eventually pass on cost savings for dairy products such as milk, owing to cuts in wholesale prices.

In the pursuit of fairness, consumers eagerly anticipate the realisation of this promise, hoping for more affordable grocery shopping experiences in the near future.

As the price of instant coffee soars and grocery costs remain a pressing concern for many, the industry continues to face scrutiny regarding the delay in reflecting the global downward trend of wholesale food prices in UK supermarket aisles.