Food bills increase by 33% and will double within ten years


Saturday September 29,2012
By Nathan Rao

SOARING food prices could see the family shopping bill rise to more than £4,000 per year within a decade, experts warned last night.

The cost of the average grocery basket has already rocketed by 32 per cent in the past five years to £2,700, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. That is more than twice the current rate of inflation, which stands at 2.5 per cent.

But economists say within the next 10 years, the average family could be paying a further £1,300 annually.

Soaring commodity costs and a growing global population leading to increased demand are being blamed for the hike.

The problem has been fuelled by the worst drought in the United States in almost 80 years and a poor summer in the UK which damaged wheat crops.

Britain has been hit particularly hard by global rises because we import around 40 per cent of our food.

Defra admitted the 32 per cent rise in Britain’s food prices since 2007 compares with just 12 per cent and 13 per cent in France and Germany – with the EU average at 16 per cent being half the UK rise. Clive Black, food analyst at broker Shore Capital, said: “Prices are going to go higher and higher and higher. We can expect two to four per cent inflation on an annual basis for the next decade.”

For example, more people are eating meat in China, and this adds to the problem

The average price of 500g of minced beef has risen from £2.20 to £2.80 since last September while 1kg of onions has shot up from 87p to £1.02. Carrots, potatoes, eggs and orange juice have also seen steep rises.

Vicky Redwood, economist at Global Economics, said: “A number of factors are putting pressure on food prices. For example, more people are eating meat in China, and this adds to the problem.”

But Defra claimed that despite prices rising faster in Britain than in other EU countries, the UK was still “cheaper overall”. UK prices last year were four per cent cheaper than in France, and six per cent cheaper than in Germany, it insisted.

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