The real cost of inflation is putting your McDonald’s cheeseburger at risk

woman eating a mcdonalds cheeseburger which has gone up in price thanks to inflation

For the first time in 14 years, McDonald’s stores in the United Kingdom have jacked up the price of their signature cheeseburger. 

Fixed at 99p for over a decade, the fast food feed now costs £1.19 - over a pound for the first time ever. In local currency, that’s a shift from $1.72 to about $2.07.

Roughly the size of the palm of your hand, the Macca’s cheeseburger is a drive-through staple: a single beef patty, a slice of cheese, slivered onions, sliced pickles, ketchup and mustard, all in a soft burger bun. So will we see this price rise hitting us here in Australia?

Are prices rising on Aussie cheeseburgers?

In Australia, a McDonald’s cheeseburger varies in cost depending on where you buy it. 

Thorough research by this journalist at their local McDonald’s in Sydney’s inner west puts the price at $4.25. Prices differ based on urban and rural locations, operating costs, staffing and franchise decisions.

A scan of locations in capital cities across the country put my local as fairly standard (the exact average being $4.16), with CBD locations hovering at roughly:

  • Sydney - $4.30
  • Melbourne $4.00
  • Brisbane - $4.35
  • Canberra - $4.15
  • Adelaide - $4.00
  • Hobart - $3.80
  • Darwin - $4.40
  • Perth - $4.30

Fond recollections of the days of the cheeseburger on the $2 menu? When McDonalds opened in Australia in 1971, a cheeseburger cost a mighty 25c - equivalent to roughly $3 today. You’re not even getting a Hobart cheeseburger for that!

Why are cheeseburgers getting more expensive?

The reality is, everything is getting more expensive

You might still be able to get a burger for $2 in the UK - almost - but inflation has made fixed prices unsustainable for a lot of businesses, even strongholds like McDonalds. 

In Australia, the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows that costs have gone up across the board on groceries (excluding pork). Rabobank shows that beef prices have been at five year highs in both the US and China, which means these changes are being felt worldwide. In the UK, this figure is a 16% price increase on beef mince.

Not only are beef prices up, but so are the rest of the ingredients in your cheeseburger.

At home, fruit and vegetables are up 7.3% annually. That covers your pickles, onions and tomato ketchup.

Bread and cereal products have also seen an increase of 6.3% annually, which means your bun also just saw a price increase. 

In the UK, the recent record temperatures are also predicted to bring up the cost of potatoes - the core tenant of fast food - adding insult to injury.

It goes without saying that delivery and shipping costs are at an all time high, with the cost of fuel continuing to creep upwards.

Curious to see how Australia stacks up to the rest of the world? Check out our attitudes compared to other countries when it comes to the cost of living, not just the cost of burgers.