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.

Things were a lot cheaper then. What we bought also changed. People ate more meat and 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.


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.

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

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.


In the UK in 1969 we consumed about 10½ lb of cheese per person. Today the figure is 10kg, (,) 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:

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

Price per lb
Double Gloucester4/4

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
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:

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:

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


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.

Tinned soups

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

Tinned milk and cream

Tinned vegtables

Tinned meat and fish

Tinned ham

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

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

Baby food

Heinz sold a variety of canned baby foods.

Tinned fruit

Tinned puddings


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.

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 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 still 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:

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


Jams and marmalades


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.


Frozen food

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.



Breakfast cereals


Salad dressings and pickles



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].


Puddings, custard and jellies


Sweets and confectionary

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


Miscellaneous ingredients

Stock cubes



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.


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

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles ★