20. November 2007

Food prices at highest level in 14 years

Government figures show that UK food prices are rising at their fastest rate in over a decade, helping to push inflation up to 2.1% in October.


London (eNewsPR) 20 November 2007 - Food factories are paying 6% more for their basic ingredients compared to a year ago because of increasing grain, dairy, meat and vegetable prices. This is the highest annual rate since 1993 according to the UK Office of National Statistics.

The higher prices are being passed straight from retailers to consumers, with the average British family now paying 624 more on their annual food bill according to grocery price comparison site mySupermarket.co.uk

mySupermarket compared food prices at the three main UK supermarkets, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's, and found that UK customers are being charged an extra 12 per cent more for a basket of 24 staple foods compared to last year.

Prices on the global commodity markets have been unstable for the last 18 months as a series of poor harvests - particularly in Australia - has led to a shortage of wheat. The surge in demand from India and China is also adding to the strain.

The combination of falling supply and rising demand has led to soaring wheat prices, which in turn increases the price of meat and dairy products as farmers seek to recover the cost of more expensive livestock feed. Butter prices, for instance, leapt by 18 per cent in October in the UK, whilst milk rose by 12 per cent.

The government said the rise in the cost of food has added 0.12 percentage points to inflation, while the price of petrol has added 0.29 percentage points.

Many foods are, however, influenced more by the cost of oil than the ingredients themselves. Wheat, for instance, makes up only about 7p of the cost of a loaf of bread. The rest is determined by the cost of baking, packaging and distribution, all of which are dependent on the price of fuel.

After many years of low food prices in the UK, vegetables, milk, bread and meat are all expected to rise even more as oil prices are pushed up further.

Visit the mySupermarket website to find out more about the price of food in UK supermarkets.

Louise Mackintosh / Sophie Raine
Mantra PR
+44 (0)20 7438 4910