Politics puts pressure on fruit prices

Gurjit Degun
2 November 2013

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The volatile political situation in the Middle East could affect the supply of soft fruit this winter. 

The UK traditionally sources much of its soft fruit from Egypt during the winter, which could lead to price fluctuations.“A great deal of soft fruit comes from the Middle East at this time of year, and with the political situation in the region still unstable, prices could easily fluctuate between now and December,” said Lynx Purchasing managing director John Pinder.

 

The comments are made in the latest Lynx Purchasing Seasonal Market Forecast, which said UK food inflation is forecast to continue at 4 per cent for the rest of the year and into 2014. It added: “The deterioration in the value of sterling over the past 12 months, in particular against the Euro, is having an impact on all imported food and drink prices.” 

For fruit imported from Europe, apples crops have increased by 7 per cent, and pears 18 per cent year-on-year. Lynx predicts that the price of good quality lemons will be higher “due to quality issues with some crops”. It added that the price of bananas will be “firmer” towards the end of the year due to poor weather conditions.

 

The price of tomatoes and canned tomatoes is also “under pressure” with 2013 likely to be the lowest Italian output in a number of years due to poor weather.

 

Root vegetables should be cheaper than last year. But if there is a very cold winter, it may have an impact on availability and price. 

The report said that beef continues to be in short supply across all cuts following the horse meat scandal as retailers have shortened their supply chains, moving the majority of their supply to British Red Tractor Beef.

 

It added: “While we don’t expect to see cattle prices to continue the upward trajectory seen over the past six months, we’re not expecting prices to ease either.”

 

Pork prices are 12 per cent higher year-on-year because of a decline in pig numbers being reared in Europe. 

In the UK, lamb carcass prices have dropped back to the same level as 2012. Lynx believes that these will remain the same until the end of the year. The report said that as the Chinese have purchased a “significant proportion” of New Zealand legs of lamb, it is forcing the price up and squeezing supply.

 

The turkey market is described as being “buoyant” due to strong demand from Germany and Italy, as well as lower production in Poland.

 

“The current view is that this will result in prices being approximately 6 per cent to 7 per cent higher in 2013 than experienced in 2012,” the report noted.

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