13 February 2009
Buyers must monitor market information on prices in real-time to inform their purchasing decisions, according to the head of procurement for sandwich chain Subway.
Speaking at the World Class Food Buying Seminar this month, Mike Attwood, purchasing director for the European Independent Purchasing Company (EIPC), which manages purchasing for Subway franchises, said there is "no excuse" for buyers not knowing commodity prices and currency exchange rates.
He said the economic climate means purchasers must stay in touch with market movements and quickly changing conditions.
"We have seen the end of cheap food, even though oil prices have returned to normal. Currency is a nightmare, suppliers are struggling to get finance and who knows what surprises we're going to see [in the future.]"
Attwood advised buyers to keep up to date with breaking news and use commodity price alert systems, as well as predictions for the future. He recommended discussing market trends with vendors themselves and using their knowledge.
Attwood presents the data at monthly meetings with internal stakeholders because it provides context for his team's purchasing decisions and explains the reasons for rising prices.
A report by think tank Chatham House found the UK food supply chain must manage continued volatility in global markets, and that firms would have to face higher prices as social issues, such as protectionism, could affect availability.