Currency issues are squeezing canned meat importers.
As well as a strengthening US dollar the importers are also feeling the adverse effect of a firm euro. "Since July last year sterling has dropped 13% against the euro and none of this has been passed to the trade," said one importer.
Attempts will be made to raise retail levels as economic forecasters see sterling's weakness continuing for some months.
The 15% devaluation adds 15p to a 454g pear shaped can of ham.
Meanwhile, heavy promotional activity on branded corned beef has hit the sales of tertiary labels, according to recent statistics.

n milky dragon
A dragon has been enlisted to help encourage youngsters to drink Welsh organic milk.
Digri the Dragon was launched as the new mascot of the Calon Wen Organic milk co-operative this week.
Spokesman Roger Kerr said: "Digri is going to be out and about throughout Wales over the next few months, telling kids all about our cows, and the strict rules we have for them." Digri is already on new leaflets going out to youngsters and he heads a new campaign, Healthy Body, Healthy Planet, detailing the benefits of organic farming.

n new highs
Both butter and skim milk powder intervention prices broke through to new high levels last week as sterling continued to weaken against the euro.
Butter hit the £2,000 per tonne level and, by the beginning of this week, rose further to £2,021/tonne. Similarly, SMP has soared above the £1,400/tonne level to stand at £1,406/tonne.
These are the highest intervention price levels seen in the UK since March 1999 and compare with around £1,800/ tonne for butter and £1,250/ tonne for SMP a year ago.
Even since last December, the increases have been around 7%. Market prices in the UK for bulk butter are clearly keeping pace with the rising intervention price as there were no offers to sell into intervention last week.

n tesco says cheese
Tesco has laid down a challenge, and an opportunity, to cheesemakers across the UK.
The retailer has launched the Tesco Cheese Challenge 2003 to discover the best new cheese in Britain.
Any products which are currently not stocked in more than 20 retail outlets are eligible and cheesemakers can enter up to two cheeses in six categories: fresh, mould ripened, semi-soft, hard, blue and speciality.
The winners of the six categories will then go on to be judged, and an overall winner decided.
Competition organiser Richard Morrice said the winner would then be stocked in Tesco stores at a level appropriate to their capacity, be it big or small.
The competition is being modelled on the retailer's successful beer challenge, and the winning cheese will be marketed in store and within Tesco publications.