Rising retail prices on fruit & veg and bread in 2012 were “just the tip of the iceberg”, as farmers continue to struggle with the aftermath of last year’s disastrous weather, Waitrose MD Mark Price has warned.
Price said the retailer was seeing input inflation of between 3%-3.5% at the moment but expected this to rise to 5% in 2013. “In some commodities, the increases will be massive,” he told the Sun. “It’s bread, vegetables, all produce. The apple crop was down 20%-30%, so apple prices have to go up. You have only seen the tip of the iceberg.”
The price of 1kg of Braeburn apples has already risen by an average of 20% across the big four and Waitrose, moving from £1.62 at the beginning of 2012 to £1.95 now [BrandView.co.uk]. In addition to the food categories identified by Price, further food inflation is also expected on many meat products as high feed wheat prices and the wet weather in 2013 have pushed up production costs for farmers.
Price said Waitrose was trying to absorb rising commodity costs within its supply chain as much as it could, but warned pressure on food prices was mounting around the world.
His comments come after UK chief scientists Sir John Beddington warned global food prices would continue to rise and become increasingly volatile as a result of a rising population and climate change.