LONDON: Food price inflation in Britain is likely to peak at up to 15% this summer and high levels will persist into 2023, industry researcher the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) said on Thursday.

Its latest report said the most vulnerable households in Britain would be hit hardest by the spike in food and drink prices.

IGD predicted that the average monthly spend on groceries for a typical family of four would reach 439 pounds ($528) in January 2023, up from 396 pounds in January 2022.

It expects inflation to be most evident in prices for meat, cereal products, dairy, fruit and vegetables.

It said products that rely on wheat for feed, such as white meats, were likely to see prices soar in the short term.

The researcher forecast high levels of food inflation would likely last until mid-2023, highlighting several factors including the impact of the conflict in Ukraine, pre-existing supply chain challenges, the limited effectiveness of monetary and fiscal policy and impacts still being felt from Brexit.

"From our research, we're unlikely to see the cost of living pressures easing anytime soon," said IGD chief economist James Walton. "We are already seeing households skipping meals – a clear indictor of food stress."

Britain's official rate of inflation hit a 40-year high of 9% in April and is forecast to surpass 10% later in 2022, when regulated energy tariffs are due to jump by a further 40%.

Food prices rose by nearly 7% in the year to April, the Office for National Statistics said last month.

Britons are responding by trading down in both stores and products, switching from mainstream supermarkets to discounters and from branded to lower priced private label products. ($1 = 0.8322 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alex Richardson)