Food prices in 1969

Fine Fare supermarket in Thirsk
Fine Fare Supermarket in Thirsk Market Place, 1968 Image information

Many people have been asking how much did things cost fifty years ago. In this article, we take a look at supermarket prices in 1969.

Of course things were a lot cheaper then. What we bought also changed. People ate more meat. They also bought a lot of tinned products.

Our taste for cheese was limited to Cheddar or Cheshire.  Dutch Edam was an alternative, but other continental cheeses were expensive.

You can still buy most of these products today, so if you want to experience food in the 1960s, this selection will give you a good idea of what to try.

Bread

Britain's Prices and Incomes Board controlled the price of bread to keep inflation down. Since bread was a large element in the cost of living index, setting the price of bread was important.

1960' bread was the standard white sliced loaf and these five large commercial bakers made fifty percent of what we consumed:

  • Mother's Pride (Ranks Hovis MacDougall)
  • Sunblest (Associated British Foods)
  • Wheatsheaf (Co-op)
  • Wonderloaf (Spillers)
  • Lyons

In February 1969, the Goverment changed what the shops could charge for bread. The change was prompted by the abolition of the old halfpenny in preparation for decimalisation in 1971.

Large loafSmall loaf
February 19681/610½d
February 19691/710d

Retailers could charge extra for a sliced loaf. A large loaf, sliced and wrapped, went up to 1/8 and a small sliced loaf to 11d.

Cheese

In the UK we consumed about 10½ lb of cheese in 1969 per person. Today the figure is 10kg (www.cheeseboard.co.uk/facts/top_cheese_facts-2,) about twice as much.

In 1969 Cheddar was by far the most popular cheese, although we ate nearly twice as much New Zealand Cheddar as UK-produced Cheddar. We consumed about 6¼lb of Cheddar making 60% of the total of cheese consumed. Things have hardly changed today. Cheddar is still out in front at 55%. Other 1960s' favourites were Cheshire and Dutch Edam.

Typical cheese prices per pound (lb) were:

  • English Cheddar - 3/10
  • English Cheshire - 3/10
  • Dutch Edam - 3/8

Most well-known English cheeses were readily available in the 1960s. You could also find a few continental favourites in most UK shops. Which? classified the following English cheeses as 'very common' or 'widely avaliable' in 1969:

Price per lb
Cheddar3/10
Caerphilly3/10
Cheshire3/10
Double Gloucester4/4
Lancashire4/4
Leicester4/4
Stilton6/6
Wensleydale4/6

Some continental cheese were available in the UK. With the exception of Edam, which was cheaper than Cheddar, most were expensive.

Price per lb
Danish Blue5/6
Edam3/8
Boursin16/8
Camembert11/-
Demi-Sel10/-
Parmesan14/-
Austrian/German smoked cheese6/-

Source: 'Cheese' published in Which? April 1969 pages 107 to 112

Processed cheese

In the 1960s and 1970s processed cheese was also popular. These are some of the well-known brands:

  • Kraft Dairylea 6 cheese portions (Tesco) - 1/1
  • Tesco processed cheese spread (6 portions) - 8d
  • Kraft Philadelphia cheese spread 8oz (Tesco) 3/-
  • Kraft Cracker Barrel (Tesco) - 1/11
  • Devon Squire cheese spread (Woolworth's) - 8d

Tinned or canned food

In the pre-freezer era tinned or canned food allowed people to keep perishable foods. Canning first started around the turn of the century. Canned food was popular by the 1930s.

Baked beans

Baked beans were a popular quick meal in the 1960s. In 1969 a typical 16oz can cost between 11d and 1s 4d

A few popular choices were:

  • Heinz - 1/4 (or 1/- from Tesco)
  • Crosse & Blackwell - 1/4
  • Co-op - 1/1
  • VG - 1s ½d
  • Kingsmere (Woolworth's) - 1/-
  • Fine Fare - 11d
  • Mac (Macfisheries) - 11d
  • Key Markets - 11d
  • Tesco - 11d

Source: 'Baked beans' published in Which? June 1969, pages 170 to 172

Spaghetti

As well as baked beans, most manufacturers offered simple forms of spaghetti. Tinned spaghetti in tomato sauce was most Britons' only experience of the famous Italian pasta dish. Spaghetti hoops or rings were an easy to eat alternative.

  • Crosse & Blackwell spaghetti rings 15¾oz (Tesco) - 1/-
  • Heinz spaghetti 15¾oz (Tesco) - 1/1

Tinned soups

Tinned soups in a small range of basic flavours were popular choices for many people in the 1960s.

  • Crosse & Blackwell soups 15oz (Tesco) - 1/1
  • Heinz soups (tomato, lentil, vegetable, cream of chicken, oxtail) 15½oz tin (Woolworth's) - 1/1
  • Campbell's soups (Macfisheries) - 1/1

Tinned milk and cream

  • Nestlé cream 6oz tin (Tesco) 1/-
  • Tesco cream 10oz tin - 1/4
  • Co-op dairy cream - 11d
  • Ideal evaporated milk (Tesco) - 1/11

Tinned vegtables

  • Hartley's garden peas 10½oz tin (Tesco) - 10d
  • Smedley's sliced green beans 9½oz tin (Tesco) - 11d
  • Kingsmere new potatoes (Woolworth's) - 1/6
  • Kingsmere processed peas (Woolworth's) - 7d
  • Kingsmere whole carrots (Woolworth's) - 1/2
  • Kingsmere canned chips (Woolworth's) - 1/6

Tinned meat and fish

  • Fray Bentos corned beef 12 oz tin (Tesco) - 4/-
  • Fray Bentos steak and kidney pie 15½oz tin (Tesco) - 3/4
  • Fray Bentos savoury minced steak 15½oz tin (Tesco) - 3/3
  • Wall's stewed steak 15 oz tin (Tesco) - 3/4
  • Dana pork luncheon meat (Tesco) - 1/11
  • Co-op pork luncheon meat 12oz tin - 2/3
  • Top Piper beef steak with gravy 15½oz tin (Tesco) - 3/-
  • Co-op red sockeye salmon 3¾oz - 2/6
  • John West salmon 7½oz (Tesco) - 1/11
  • Armour pilchards 15oz (Tesco) 1/6

Tinned ham

Tinned or canned ham was a popular sandwich filling in the 1960s. These ae some typcial prices for a 16oz tin.

  • Tesco - 7/7
  • Gaiety - 8/-
  • Macfisheries - 8/6
  • Princes - 9/8
  • Maid Marian - 9/9
  • Ye Olde Oak - 9/11
  • Harrods - 12/6

Source: 'Canned ham' published in Which? December 1969, pages 397 to 400

Baby food

Heinz sold a variety of canned baby foods.

  • Heinz baby foods 4½oz tin (Tesco) - 7d

Tinned fruit

  • Del Monte peaches 29oz tin (Tesco) - 2/4
  • Sainsbury's Australian peaches 29oz tin - 2/4
  • Sainsbury's Australian pears 29oz tin - 2/6
  • Tesco Dutch strawberries in syrup 14¼oz - 1/9
  • Gold Ring pineapple pieces 29oz tin (Tesco) - 2/-
  • Australian peaches 29oz tin (Tesco) - 2/4
  • Australian pears 29oz tin (Tesco) - 2/9
  • Golden Circle Australian pineapple pieces 15oz tin (Tesco) - 1/3
  • Co-op sliced peaches 29oz - 2/4
  • Co-op tinned apples - 6½d
  • K-Y fruit cocktail (Macfisheries) - 2/-
  • K-Y sliced peaches (Macfisheries) - 1/7
  • K-Y pear halves (Macfisheries) - 1/9

Tinned puddings

  • Libby's creamed tice (Tesco) - 11d
  • Farmers Wife creamed rice 15½oz tin (Tesco) - 10d
  • Ambrosia Sweet Magic 15oz (Tesco) - 1/3
  • Ambrosia creamed rice 15oz (Tesco) - 1/-
  • Heinz puddings 10½oz (Tesco) - 1/6
  • Heinz sponge puddings (Woolworth's) - 1/5

Snacks

Crisps were a popular snack in the 1960s. There was a much smaller variety of flavours compared with today. There were only cheese'n'onion, salt'n'vinegar' and ready salted.

  • Smiths crsips party pack (Tesco) - 1/11
  • Golden Wonder crisps (Woolworth's) - 1/9

Instant Coffee

Although tea was still the nation's favourite drink, coffee was gaining ground. Most people chose instant for convenience.

Prices of popular brands for a 4oz tin were:

  • Nescafé - 4/11
  • Nescafé Gold Blend - 6/-
  • Nescafé Blend 37 - 6/4
  • Lyons - 3/9d
  • Maxwell House - 4/11
  • Kenco Mild Roast - 5/6
  • Kenco Continental High Roast - 3/3 (for 2oz tin)

Nescafé and Maxwell House were by far the most popular.

Nescafé Blend 37 was a great tasting coffee. It was the nearest you could get to a real coffee taste. It is a pity Nestlé do not manufacture it today.

You could also get decaffeinated (decaf) coffee in the 1960s. It was more expensive than regular coffee. Typical prices for a 2oz jar were:

  • Nescafé Decaf - 3/11
  • HAG - 5/3

Source: 'Instant Coffee' published in Which? November 1969, pages 369 to 371

Tea

  • Lyon's Premium tea ¼lb (Tesco) 1/5
  • Lyon's Quick Brew quarter (quarter lb) (Tesco) - 1/4
  • Ty-Phoo tea ½lb (Tesco) 2/9
  • Brooke Bond PG Tips ½lb (Tesco) 2/9
  • Sainsbury's Red Label tea 4oz - 1/3

Jams and marmalades

  • Golden Shred 1lb jar (Tesco) 1/6
  • Silver Shred 1lb jar (Woolworth's) 1/6
  • Hartley's New Jams 12oz - 1/9
  • Gales clear set honey 1lb (Tesco) - 2/11
  • Carnival jams (Woolworth's) - 1/6

Meat

Meat was a huge part of most people's diet in the 1960s. A large amount of UK-consumed  meat came from New Zealand. Before we joined the Common Market in 1972, we relied on Commonwealth countries to supply much of our food.

  • Tesco - New Zealand lamb chops - 4/4 per lb
  • Tesco - New Zealand shoulder of lamb - 3/6 per lb
  • Tesco - New Zealand leg of lamb - 4/6 per lb
  • Tesco 'Tasty' pork sausages 3/2 per lb
  • Tesco beef steak and kidney puddings 11d
  • Tesco - cooked ham - 2/- per quarter
  • Tesco - cooked gammon - 2/- per quarter
  • Tesco - hock boiling joint 2/- per lb
  • Tesco - oven-ready chickens - 2/10 per lb
  • Sainsbury's mini pork pies (pack of 2) - 1/-
  • Halibut steaks (Macfisheries) 1lb - 6/6
  • Boned kippers (Macfisheries) 1lb - 3/8

Fruit

  • Tesco 5 'Cape' oranges - 2/4
  • Tesco - Spanish blood oranges 6 - 1/9
  • Dutch cucumbers (Tesco) - 2/8

Frozen food

  • Tesco - garden peas 16oz - 2/4

Instant meals

Instant meals were a novelty. Powdered soups were common in the 1960s. For the more adventurous, Vesta did a range of Indian and Chinese dishes.

  • Batchelor's packet soups (Tesco) - 9d
  • Crosse & Blackwell soups 15oz tin (Tesco) 1/1
  • Maggi soups packet (Tesco) - 9d
  • Vesta meals (eg beef curry, Chow Mein)(Tesco/Co-op) - 3/3
  • Vesta prawn curry (Tesco) - 3/9
  • Vesta chicken supreme (Tesco) - 4/3

Sauces

  • Chef tomato ketchup 12oz (Tesco) - 1/5

Biscuits

  • Ritz crackers (Tesco) - 1/4
  • Energen starch reduced crispbread (Co-op) - 1/5
  • Frear's crumble creams - 1/4
  • McVitie chocolate homewheat - ¾lb packet (Tesco) - 2/3
  • McVitie digestive biscuits - 1lb packet (Tesco) - 1/6
  • Tesco assorted biscuits 1lb - 1/ll
  • Rich Highland shorties 8oz packet (Tesco) 10d
  • McVitie Viennese whirls (6) (Tesco) - 1/6
  • Peak Frean's shortcake 7½oz pack (Tesco) - 10d
  • Chiltonian Garibaldi biscuits - 1/-
  • Crawford's TUC biscuits (Tesco) - 1/8
  • Tesco Savoy crackers - 1/-
  • Rover assorted biscuits 1lb (Co-op) - 2/5
  • Rowntrees Kit Kat (6 pack)(Woolworth's) - 1/8

Breakfast cereals

  • Quaker puffed wheat (Tesco) - 1/2
  • Quaker oats (Tesco) - 1/8
  • Scots oats 1½lb (Tesco) - 1/9
  • Lyons Ready Brek 1lb (Tesco) - 1/ll
  • Kellogg's corn flakes 16oz pack (Tesco) - 1/11
  • Shredded wheat pack of 18 (Tesco) - 1/11
  • Quaker sugar puffs 12oz (Co-op) - 1/11

Dairy

  • Tesco real fruit yogurt 9d per pot
  • Tesco butter 1/5
  • Kerrygold Irish butter ½lb (Tesco) - 1/7
  • Garden Meadow butter ½lb (Tesco) - 1/7
  • Kangaroo Australian butter ½lb (Tesco) - 1/6
  • Co-op Avondale butter 1lb 3/4
  • Kraft Superfine margarine ½lb (Tesco) - 1/-
  • Stork magarine ½lb - 9½d
  • Co-op Silver Seal magarine 8oz - 8d

Salad dressings and pickles

  • Cross & Blackwell salad cream 20oz (Tesco) - 2/11
  • Heinz salad cream 10oz (Tesco) - 1/11
  • Marela piccalilli 9½fl.oz (Tesco) - 1/8
  • Marela pickled onions 9½fl.oz (Tesco) - 1/8
  • Branston pickle (Co-op) - 1/7

Drinks

  • Robinson's orange or lemon squash 25½ fl oz - 2/-
  • Quash orange or lemon 25½ fl oz (Tesco) - 2/3
  • Sunfresh orange squash 25½ fl oz - 2/-
  • Suncrush orange squash 25½ fl oz - 2/-
  • Tree Top orange or lemon squash 25½ fl oz - 2/3
  • Coca Cola (Tesco) 10d per can
  • Pepsi-Cola (Tesco) 10d per can
  • Hunts canned drinks (Tesco) - 10d
  • Schweppes canned drinks (Tesco) 10d
  • Ovaltine 8oz tin (Tesco) - 2/8
  • Cadbury's drinking chocolate 8oz tin (Tesco) - 1/9
  • Schweppes bitter lemon (Sainsbury's) - 9d
  • Co-op lemonade shandy 11½oz - 10d

Wine

Wine was becoming more popular in the 1960s. A typcial bottle of red cost for 8s 6d for Fine Fare's Spanish Burgundy to 12s 3d for Woolworth's Beaujolais. ['Branded red wine' in Which? March 1969 pages 92 to 96].

Spreads

  • Shippam's spreads (Tesco) - 10d per jar
  • Shippam's pastes 2¾oz jar (Tesco) - 1/-
  • St Ivel pastes (salmon & shrimp, chicken & ham, ham & tongue, beef & tomato, beef) (Woolworth's) - 1/2

Puddings, custard and jellies

  • Birds Angel Delight (Co-op) - 1/4
  • Birds trifle (Co-op) - 1/11
  • Mary Baker vanilla delight (Co-op) - 1/-
  • Bird's custard (Tesco) 1/5
  • Chiver's jellies 4½oz (Tesco) - 9d
  • Royal jellies 6 pack - 6d
  • Rowntrees jellies (Sainsbury's)- 9d
  • Co-op jellies - 7d
  • Robertsons Christmas pudding 1lb (Tesco) - 2/4

Cakes

  • Tesco Swiss roll - 10d
  • Mr Kipling almond slices (Tesco) - 2/-

Sweets and confectionary

In 1969 you could buy a quarter (of 1lb) of any of the following sweets from Woolworth's for 7d

  • Palace candies
  • Mint caramel chews
  • Mintoes
  • Toffee whirls
  • Liquorice toffee assortment
  • Fruit and nut toffees
  • Bonbons
  • Fruit drops
  • Clear mints
  • Mint humbugs

Chocolates

  • Cadbury's Milk Flake (Woolworth's) - 1/5
  • Nestles chocolate block (Woolworth's) - 9d
  • Mars bars (pack of 3) (Sainsbury's) - 1/7
  • Milky Way family pack (Co-op) = 1/3
  • After Eight mints (Co-op) - 4/4
  • Galaxy milk chocolate ½lb bar (Tesco) - 2/8
  • Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate ½lb bar (Tesco) - 2/6

Miscellaneous ingredients

Stock cubes

  • Oxo cubes -12 pack (Tesco) - 2/2
  • Bisto 8oz pack (Tesco) - 1/4

Stuffing

  • Paxo stuffing 3½oz (Tesco) - 8d

Baking

  • Tesco mincemeat 14oz jar - 1/6
  • Hartley's mincemeat 14½oz jar (Tesco) - 1/8
  • Tesco flour 3lb - 1/3
  • McDougall's flour 3lb (Tesco) - 1/8
  • Homepride flour 3lb - 1/8
  • Whitworth's (Australian) sultanas 12oz (Tesco) - 1/8
  • Whitworth's currents or mixed fruit 12oz (Tesco) - 1/8
  • Viota Carnival cake mix (Tesco) - 1/3
  • Cherry Genoa cake (Woolworth's) - 1/10
  • Trex ½lb (Tesco) - 1/3
  • Atora beef suet ½lb (Tesco) - 1/3
  • Morton's pie fillings (Tesco) from 1/10

A note on prices, weights and measures

In 1969 Britain used pounds, shillings and pence.

Prices in this guide are written as they were in the 1960s. There were 20 shillings to one pound and 12 pence in a shilling.  So 240 pence in a pound.

Few items cost more than £1, so prices are in shillings and pence. People wrote prices using the '/' symbol. For example 5/6 meant 5 shillings and 6 pence.

You used '-' to represent 0 pence. For example 5 shillings was 5/-.

If there were no shillings then people used the 'd' symbol to indicate a value in pence, eg 6d was sixpence.

The weights and measures are imperial.  You will see pounds (lb) and ounces (oz) and fluid ounces (fl oz).  There were 16 ounces to the pound (lb) and 20 fluid ounces to the pint.

Sources

Unless stated otherwise, this information has been compiled from newspaper advertisements from Tesco, the Co-op, Sainsbury's and other supermarkets.

 
 
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