Inflation hits 9% in the UK, the highest rate in over 40 years
This week, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the inflation rate in the UK has jumped to 9%. This is the highest figure the UK has seen in over 40 years, marking the worst cost-of-living crisis since 1977.
In fact, the UK now has a higher rate of inflation (9%), than any of the G7 countries, including Germany (7.4%) and France (4.8%).
Higher fuel and food prices, driven by the Ukraine war, are also pushing the cost of living up, with inflation expected to continue to rise this year. Economists are predicting inflation to hit 10% by October.
The ONS said the rising cost of raw materials for food products, transport equipment and metals meant prices were climbing in goods leaving factories as manufacturers passed on higher costs.
Average petrol prices stood at £1.62 per litre in April 2022, the highest recorded by the ONS, compared with £1.26 per litre a year earlier.
The effect on the food industry
Retailers – both independent and larger – will be worried by the new figures. It signals economic chaos in real terms for the food industry, and trade bodies across the sector are issuing warnings.
Karen Betts, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), told Speciality Food, “Today’s inflation figures are very sobering, with food and non-alcoholic drinks prices rising by 6.7%, slightly more than food manufacturers’ had feared.
“This is a very worrying time for many households, and food and drink businesses are continuing to do everything they can to contain food-price inflation. However, the pressures on both large and small businesses are immense.
“Ingredient price rises have been relentless for more than a year now, as a result of pressures in the global supply chain caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The war in Ukraine, with both Ukraine and Russia important suppliers of commodities like wheat and food oils, as well as energy and fertiliser, has made the situation worse.
“Our sector is, in particular, impacted by the significant rises in energy costs seen this year – with over 60% of food and drink manufacturers reporting energy price rises are impacting their operations. Meanwhile, wages are rising too with labour shortages right across our sector taking hold.”
“Inflationary pressures continue to impact businesses as well as households, with soaring energy prices further driving up the Consumer Price Index. These higher energy prices, along with a tight labour market, and the huge costs of moving goods around, are impacting all retailers. Food production has been particularly hard hit, with historically high global food prices, rising costs of animal feed, and disruption in supplies as a result of the Ukraine war. (specialityfoodmagazine.com)