Food prices fell 1.2 per cent from March to April and were up 7.6 per cent on the previous year. The year-on-year rise was the slowest increase so far this year, suggesting food inflation may have finally peaked.

According to the Verdict monthly Food Price Tracker, year-on-year inflation in April was almost half that recorded in February. Verdict said the UK grocery market is “finally turning a corner” as lower commodity prices, the reduced cost of oil and intense competition among retailers help keep a lid on inflation.

Verdict consulting director Neil Saunders said: “For the past year, food prices have weighed heavy on consumer mind and wallet. With the recession starting to bite and unemployment rising rapidly, a slowing of inflation could not have come at a better time.”

Verdict expects the trend will continue and prices to ease “significantly” before the end of the year.

However, Verdict retail consultant Paul Bashford said: “As much as we’d all like to return to the prices we paid for food in 2007, we’re just not going to see those sorts of falls. The truth is that most consumers will still be paying quite a bit more for their food than they did some years ago; the good news is that by December we believe they’ll be paying less than they did in January.”

Prices of household goods, meat fruit and vegetables are still rising, but the price of dairy products is falling.