Over the past 52 weeks, flour has leapt 72% in cost, almonds 61%, raisins 45%, and sugar 18.5%, according to Mintec. Based on the ingredients of a Delia Smith Christmas pudding, the overall cost of ingredients has increased 21%.
This year's harvests had been hit hard by unusually poor global weather conditions, said Mintec's Robert Miles."This year's supplies have been more limited than after the bumper crops of late 2009," he said.
"This year there have been unseasonally heavy rains in Canada, drought in Russia, and concern that a developing drought in Brazil could hit the sugar cane crop. Frost has hit a lot of fruit and nut production in Europe."
Flour prices had gone through the roof because of the rising cost of wheat, a problem that would be compounded by Russia's current export ban, he said.Increased demand for grain, sugar and dried fruit from China and India had also forced prices upwards.
Manufacturers said they had negotiated prices for their Christmas puddings in spring before the ingredient inflation. However, the average price of a 454g own-label pud is currently £2.49 30% up on last year, according to BrandView.co.uk. Suppliers warned that ingredient inflation could mean even higher shelf prices next Christmas.
"We have recognised that many ingredient costs have increased year-on-year and may continue to rise," said Andrew Hanson, head of corporate communications for Northern Foods' Matthew Walker business, which supplies own-label and branded puddings. "We may look to acquire certain ingredients on longer-term contracts."
Philip Callaghan, operations director at Bells of Lazonby, which supplies Waitrose and independent stores, said the company had to be more aware of rising ingredient costs.