Manufacturing costs in the grocery sector have increased significantly after four years of benign conditions, according the Government's latest producer price index. The impact is likely to be felt in pressure for increases in shelf prices in the next months. Seasonally adjusted figures for home produced food manufacturing raw materials showed a sharp increase of 2.2% between November and December, bringing the total increase during 2000 to 3.7%. Imported materials rose less sharply in December but totalled 4.5% for the year as a whole. The upturn is the result of buoyant demand coming at the same time as the easing of value of sterling, wage inflation and much higher oil prices eases. By contrast, from 1996 to 1999 the overall raw material input cost for grocery manufacturers was static or in slight decline, and was matched by a long period of deflation in retail prices. Non-foods experienced input price increases between7% to 14%. {{NEWS }}