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12 March 2014 | Gurjit Degun
The price of many menu staples will continue to fluctuate despite the fall in UK inflation, according to the latest Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast.
It said while the impact of the UK’s terrible weather at the start of the year has so far been limited, factors ranging from rising global demand for certain foods to disease in some farmed species are having an impact on prices.
The report highlighted issues such as 'protected geographical indication' status for West Country beef from the end of March leading to a limit in supply. “Current rearing methods restrict the amount of beef which will meet the standard,” said Lynx.
It also pointed to rising demand for lamb from China and elsewhere pushing up prices globally, “with a likely knock-on effect for UK prices”. The early mortality syndrome virus devastating Asian farms will cause supply issues with tiger prawns until late 2015, the report added.
Lynx added: “Quality issues with some salmon from Chile mean the North American market is sourcing more Scottish and Norwegian salmon, pushing up prices.”
John Pinder, managing director at Lynx, said: “While the weather is always one of the biggest variables that we face on the supply side when calculating prices, so far the effects have been limited.
"Last year’s prolonged cold snap, which meant that crops couldn’t be planted until later than normal, actually had more impact than this year’s floods, which although they were severe where they occurred, have been more localised.
“There were some short-term price spikes, such as higher prices for fresh fish during the periods when storms prevented fishing boats from going to sea, but those have largely now levelled off. However, the need to factor the use of agricultural land into flood defence planning is a longer term worry.”