There has been a relentless rise in food and drink inflation, says CGA and Prestige Purchasing © Getty Images/iStockphoto
There has been a relentless rise in food and drink inflation, says CGA and Prestige Purchasing © Getty Images/iStockphoto

Food price inflation makes Christmas 'costliest yet'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
27 November 2019

The wholesale cost of UK Christmas dinner ingredients has been pushed up by supply issues.

A number of factors have limited the supply of turkey, while African swine fever has hit pork production worldwide and wet weather has cut vegetable harvests, according to CGA and Prestige Purchasing, who said Christmas would be the “costliest yet”.

Fiona Speakman, CGA client director food and retail, said: “Our index has shown a pretty relentless rise in food and drink inflation for the last three years, and with such pressure on businesses throughout the foodservice supply chain, it is inevitable that cost increases reach consumers too.”

The CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index found Turkey producers reported falling profits in 2018, leading some to switch to chicken sheds. Meanwhile French firms, who supply a large proportion of the hatching eggs used by UK breeders, have said high summer temperatures led to eggs being lost at a higher rate than usual. Both factors have led to reduced supply and higher prices.

The outbreak of swine flu across parts of Europe and Asia is expected to result in the culling of a quarter of all pigs globally. Whole pig prices rose by more than 10% between March and October.

Meanwhile harvests of potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts have been damaged by wet weather and flooding.

Shaun Allen, CEO of Prestige Purchasing, said: “This is an expensive time of year for consumers, so the increasing costs on a number of traditional Christmas dinner items will be extremely unwelcome and will put pressure on margins for both operators and retailers in order to keep the costs down for customers over the festive period.

“With turkey and ham prices on the rise, demand for alternative meats such as beef could see a surge this Christmas.”

In October the British Meat Producers Association warned labour shortages threatened the supply of pigs in blankets.

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