Brits are stocking up on air fryers and electric blankets as energy bills skyrocket

Brits are stocking up on air fryers and electric blankets as energy bills skyrocket

CNN Business

Shoppers in the United Kingdom are snapping up energy-saving air fryers, electric blankets and slow cookers this winter as their fuel bills soar.

Sales of hot air fryers were up 286% in September compared to the same month last year, according to market research company GfK.

The portable appliance typically uses less energy than a conventional oven because air fryers are smaller and heat up more quickly.

“The huge surge in sales of these items shows how seriously rising energy prices are affecting people already,” Helen Morrissey, a senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, told CNN Business. “People are monitoring their energy usage to a minute level.”

Sales of electric cooking pots, which includes pressure cookers and slow cookers, were also up 79% in the year to September.

The average slow cooker costs 11 pence (13 cents) to run for an hour, while the typical electric oven costs 21 pence (24 cents), according to data from price comparison website, which estimates energy costs of consumer products.

Asda, on of the country’s biggest supermarket chains, said that sales of its air fryers jumped 320% in September from the same month in 2021, while sales of its slow cookers more than doubled over the same period.

Brits are also preparing to wrap up for colder weather ahead by stocking up on electric blankets. Sales of the item shot up 216% year-on-year in September, according to GfK.

“It is clear people are willing to do whatever it takes to avoid putting the heating on for as long as possible to alleviate the enormous pressure on their finances,” Morrissey said.

Millions of Brits are struggling to make ends meet as their food and fuel bills have skyrocketed this year. Last month, consumer price inflation soared back to its July level of 10.1%, its highest rate in 40 years.

And the average annual energy bill for households rose 96% from last October to hit £2,500 ($2,889) this month.

In September, the government stepped in to cap gas and electricity bills at that level for the next two years. But earlier this month, the country’s new finance minister Jeremy Hunt said the cap would only last until April, with only the most vulnerable households receiving further support.

Data from Asda, compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said that households were £141 ($163) worse off in September compared to a year before.

Rises in gas and electricity bills, up 96% and 54% respectively, were the main drivers behind the drop in disposable income, the retailer said.