THE cost of food is rising at a much faster pace than ordinary inflation -- but the good news is that the rate is slowing as Christmas approaches.
New figures show that the rate of inflation in Irish supermarkets was running at 2.9pc in the 12 weeks leading up to early November.
That is roughly 30 times faster than the overall inflation rate across the economy.
Prices across a broad range of goods and services barely rose this year. They went up just 0.1pc in the last 12 months, according to the Central Statistics Office.
Food prices are soaring as global shortages in everything from coffee and chocolate to beef and cashew nuts pushes up prices.
Food inflation has been running at 4pc over the past year in Ireland and hit 6.4pc in January, according to Kantar Worldpanel, which tracks supermarket sales and market share.
"Fresh food has been the main driver," said David Berry, who is commercial director at Kantar. "This has now started to recede, for example vegetables are now cheaper on average than they were last year.
"One area which continues to experience significant inflationary pressure is alcoholic drinks," said Mr Berry.
"Increased duty on alcohol as part of the October Budget has affected wine in particular, where the average price has increased by 16pc.
"As a result, 51,000 fewer shoppers have put wine in their baskets; while those who continue to buy have cut back by almost one bottle over the past 12 weeks."
Grocery inflation stands at 2.9pc for the 12-week period ending November 10, 2013, down from the 4.2pc seen in the previous 12 weeks.
Dunnes saw a 2.3pc increase. Tesco has, meanwhile, seen a 6pc drop in sales leading to its share of the market dropping to 26.5pc.