Higher bread prices have come one step closer with an increase in the price of flour. Rank Hovis, the UK's leading miller, is increasing the price of flour by £39 a tonne, representing a rise of between 20% and 30% across all grades from September 17. The company said the increase was the result of a recent rapid rise in costs set against a two-year period of price deflation in the industry. The rising costs have been fuelled by high wheat price rises caused by difficult UK growing conditions earlier this year and tight world supply. Rank Hovis' sales and marketing director John Haworth said: "We have had no choice but to recover what was fast becoming an untenable position. UK and EU grain prices continue to be driven by the strong world market." Director of the National Association of British and Irish Millers, Alex Waugh, said he was not surprised by Rank Hovis' actions: "Normally you get strong prices up to the harvest, and then the price drops, but this year that hasn't happened. The very strong prices mean a big increase in costs for millers. "It's been a tough time for the milling industry recently and I'm not surprised to see them trying to recover those costs." However, Federation of Bakers director John White said it remained to be seen whether flour's higher price would lead to a rise in the cost of a loaf. "That is the $64,000 question. It's a highly competitive market, but what happens next is down to individual companies. But it's difficult to see how the costs can be absorbed." A spokesman for British Bakeries said: "The issue is under consideration but it's too early to say whether prices will go up." {{NEWS }}