Today's hot topics for many British families are the price increases on everyday foods and those on fuel. Both will be in the headlines for the foreseeable future, with the popular dailies campaigning regularly. But the article in The Times on 22 May, referred to in your leader (The Grocer, 24 May, p3) gave some interesting facts.
The story quoted the price of eggs, bread and milk as up 33%, 19.6% and 13.5% respectively at the end of April compared to the same month in 2007. The last price on their list was topside of beef, up by only 11.3%.
Beef was clearly the lowest increase on the list, but experience shows it will probably be the first to be cut from family budgets. Bread and milk are used every day and not easily substituted, but sadly this is not the case for beef. The unit price for a roast is high, and if beef is to be affordable, it has to be competitive with other proteins without compromising quality.
In the UK, we have always relied on imported beef to balance our domestic production, but the current EU restrictions on Brazil have pushed prices ever higher, putting beef in the luxury goods category.
We know that supply, demand and price are linked. Now the reduction in imported beef supplies has pushed up the price of EU beef very quickly. The specialist markets, supplied by quality imports, are suffering and ordinary families are being priced out.
We have imported from Brazil for 50 years and there has never been a single case of animal disease in the UK attributed to Brazilian imports.
Just for the record.