All the independent retailers interviewed by The Grocer say they are feeling the bite of rising commodity costs.

This year, major food and drink suppliers, including United Biscuits, Kellogg's and Premier Foods, have come forward to admit they have had to increase the price of their products because of escalating ingredient costs.

Last month, frozen ready meals specialist Cook was the first independent retailer on The Grocer's Top 50 poll to say it had been forced to increase prices for the same reason.

“We anticipate that the increases for this autumn are not the last,” says James Perry, managing director. “We are already considering further increases for Christmas and beyond as we see the market continuing to move.”

Although 11% of respondents have yet to see an increase in the prices of products such as bread and milk, everyone agrees price rises are inevitable.

“We are increasing our prices as and when manufacturer increases filter through to us,” says one retailer.

However, says another: “Though we are increasing our prices in line with manufacturer increases, we are endeavouring to limit their impact.”

Other rising costs, especially higher fuel prices, are also starting to bite. Last month, the government increased the duty on fuel by two pence a litre. “This has had to be passed directly on to our customers,” confirms one retailer.

All respondents say customers have noticed that prices are going up, but as yet have not received any direct complaints.

“I think customers realise prices are going up across the board and we have had no choice but to follow suit,” says one.

But increases are necessary to protect already wafer-thin margins, adds another retailer. “As prices have increased, we have put ours up likewise but this is only to achieve the same margins as before,” he says.

“Customers could not have failed to notice that prices are going up,” adds another. “It is not just us, it's everyone and I hope our customers realise this.”

The questions we asked:

1) Have you been affected by the rise is costs of raw materials?
Yes 100% No 0%

2) Are you introducing price rises on products such as bread and milk?
Yes 89% No 11%

3) If you, have customers noticed?
Yes 100% No 0%

4) Do you intend to increase prices of products in the near future?
Yes 100% No 0%