Households have been warned that the UK’s “golden era” of cheap food is over, as official figures published on Friday pointed to the toll of the cost of living crisis, with two in five people buying less food to get by.

The former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King said shoppers now faced hard choices over how to spend their money as the financial shock, caused by the war in Ukraine, pushes up prices on supermarket shelves.

“We have been perhaps through a golden era,” said King , a senior figure in the retail industry who also sits on the board of Marks & Spencer. This would now have to change, he added, with people forced to rethink priorities in their family budgets.

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