Spanish inflation is slowing unlike in the UK. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

Spain's consumer prices in the 12-month period to October rose 7.3%, slower than the 8.9% in the year to September, preliminary data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) showed today.

The reading was the lowest since January and lower than the 8.1% forecast by analysts polled by Reuters.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile fresh food and energy prices, was at 6.2% year-on-year, unchanged from 6.2% in September, the INE data showed.

A fall in electricity prices compared to the same period last year and a moderation in gas prices were factors mentioned by the INE in its press release to explain the slowdown.

It also pointed to a moderation in the prices of footwear and clothing.

In October 2022, the measure to provide free rail travel and cheaper urban public transport went into force, affecting the overall price index.

Spain's European Union-harmonised 12-month inflation fell to 7.3%, down from 9.0% in September and below the 8.0% expected by analysts.

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The government expects average inflation for the year to be 8.5%, and the effect of high prices is already reflected in the performance of the economy, which in the summer quarter slowed down to 0.2% compared to the previous quarter.

In the UK, however, it appears to be a different story.

Fresh vegetables and fish are falling off the menu. Packaged pizzas and processed meat are the dishes of the day.

Many British households are turning away from healthier foods as rampant inflation pushes them towards cheaper processed meals, according to consumer data and experts who are worried about the nation taking a nutritional nosedive.

As grocery prices rise across the board, the cost of fresh food has largely been outpacing processed and packaged products, according to the official UK consumer price index (CPI).

Prices for fresh vegetables rose about 14% in September versus the same month last year earlier for example, while fresh beef also jumped 14%, fish 15%, poultry 17%, eggs 22% and low-fat milk 42%. Meanwhile, salted or smoked meat such as bacon and crisps went up a slower pace of about 12% each, packaged pizzas rose nearly 10%, sugary snacks like gummies increased by 6% and chocolate increased by just over 3%.

Shopping habits are changing too, according to exclusive data from NielsenIQ, which created a basket of 37 food products for Reuters. Volume sales of fresh vegetables fell by more than 6% and fresh meat by over 7% in August, for example, while sales of snacks and candy rose almost 4%. The data underscores the trend towards processed food implied by the CPI figures, which do not include sales, raising red flags for public health advocates.

The Downing Street drama, which spawned a rout of government bonds that pushed up mortgage costs for many families, is frustrating for those struggling to make ends meet.