5.9k Share this

Fruit and vegetables face a 30 per cent price rise as striking Spanish truckers disrupt the supply of tomatoes, lettuce and peppers in another cost of living blow – while sunflower oil is ‘running out’ and putting the production of crisps and chips at risk.

 prices could rise by 30 per cent and sunflower oil is running out as UK households face further financial blows amid the cost of living crisis.

The Bank of England warned last week that Britons will suffer an ‘historic’ shock to their incomes after inflation soared to a 30-year high of 6.2 per cent last month – expected to rise to eight per cent in the spring.

Now fruit and vegetable prices could rise by nearly a third, industry experts have warned.

Industrial action by Spanish lorry drivers has disrupted the supply of salad vegetables and soft fruits including tomatoes, peppers and lettuce into Britain.  

It comes as the the UK’s biggest cooking oil bottler has also warned it has just a few weeks’ supply of sunflower oil left as the Russian invasion of Ukraine is disrupting exports.

It has left manufacturers of foods that contain sunflower oil – found in hundreds of products including crisps, oven chips and cereal bars – desperately searching for alternative ingredients.

Shortages have already seen prices for rapeseed oil rise ’50 per cent to 70 per cent’, with businesses likely having to pass the price onto consumers if a downturn does not arrive soon.

It comes as new figures published earlier this week also showed food inflation has risen by 5.3 per cent year-on-year, with milk, fresh meat and coffee reporting particularly sharp increases.

The rising impact of ‘shrinkflation’ on Britain’s favourite foods 

Dairy Milk has become the latest victim of ‘shrinkflation’ with the nation’s favourite chocolate bar shrinking from 200g to 180g.

The impact of shrinkflation has already seen size reductions in Walkers multipacks, which now contain fewer bags of crisps, as well as washing powder boxes and Tesco cutting the weight of its Mozzarella cheese.  

Shrinkflation has been taking place in the UK for the past decade, with data from the Office for National Statistics having revealed that 206 products shrank in size between September 2015 and June 2017.

That trend is likely to continue this year amid the cost of living crisis.

Wispa Duo bars reduced by almost 4g, or 7 per cent, while still costing 85p in January.

Meanwhile 10-packs lost 18g overall and 4-packs lost 8.4g. 

In the US, crisp giant Frito-Lay revealed earlier this mointh that it had cut down the number of crisps in its bags of Doritos, trimming 9.75 ounce bags of the cheesy snack to 9.25 ounces.

Cadbury’s large Crunchie and Creme Egg Easter eggs dropped in weight by almost 10 per cent last year – from 258g in 2019 to 233g and its Heroes egg by 7 per cent from 254g to 236g. 

Nutella were slashed from 400g to 350g last year – with no change in price. 

Snickers, Maltesers, Toblerones and the much loved Chocolate Orange have also dwindled in size over the last ten years.  

<!—->

Advertisement

Many supermarkets are already showing shortages of Spanish-sourced fresh produce, according to analysts Assosia.

Even if the lorry drivers return to work on Monday, the supply chain will taken ten days to return to normal, importers have said.

The industrial action began two weeks ago, but shortages have only now begun to appear on supermarket shelves.

The lorry drivers began striking over rising petrol costs, arguing that it has become unviable to transport goods as haulage companies see their incomes dwindle.

Supply has also been hit by deteriorating weather conditions in Spain and North Africa, along with a shortage of shipping containers and added red tape at border controls. 

Nigel Jenney, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium, has predicted cost increases of 20-30 per cent for suppliers.

He said: ‘These are real issues our industry is expected to fund but, in reality, they are not costs which can simply be borne by individual businesses.’

Farmers, fishermen and taxi drivers have all joined the industrial action – with hauliers who continued to work often finding their tyres slashed.

Scott Porter-Ward, marketing director UK for Spain-based supplier Anecoop, told The Grocer: ‘There are lots of delays. We supply the whole of Europe and these issues have had a big impact on delays into retailers.

‘Some of the pack houses have had to stop because they haven’t had the product coming in and they have had to tell the people not to bother coming into work tomorrow.

‘There are several issues beyond industry and government control. We are now, as a food industry, facing substantial cost increases across our production of food that is unprecedented.’ 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also caused inflation to soar, as well as a vast drop in the supply of sunflower oil.

Edible Oils, Britain’s largest cooking oil bottler, has said 80 per cent of the global supply of sunflower oil comes from Russia and Ukraine.

 

Hell for households: How much more YOU will be paying in bills from April 1

Energy bills – up 54%, £693 a year

Annual energy bills will soar by 54 per cent yesterday as regulator Ofgem raises the price cap for an average home to £1,971 from £1,277. Experts believe it will be £600 more from October. 

Petrol – up, 39%, £23 per tank

Fuel prices have surged to a record high of £1.66 a litre of petrol and £1.78 for diesel as it emerged that motorists have been hit by daily increases for six weeks. 

The cost of filling up a typical family car with a 55-litre tank is now £81.41, up from £58.56 in May 2020, when petrol prices plunged because of the first coronavirus lockdown. 

Council tax – up 3.5%, £67 a year, on average 

More than half of town halls will charge over £2,000 in average council tax bills this April. The typical Band D bill in England will be £1,966 – up 3.5 per cent on last year. The highest in the country will be in Rutland, where residents will receive bills of £2,300. The highest increase is in Sandwell in the West Midlands – up by 5.2 per cent. For the first time, more than half of local authorities will charge in excess of £2,000 for Band D households.

National insurance, up 1.25%

National insurance increases worth around £6billion are taking effect in a few days. 

For employees they would previously pay 12% on earnings up to £50,270 and 2% on anything above that. From April 6, the rate goes up to 13.25% and 3.25% respectively. For the self-employed, rates will go up from 9% and 2% to 10.25% and 3.25%.

Payments will only be collected on wages above £9,880, although this rises to £12,570 in July.

Water bills – up 1.7% – £7, a year

Water bills in England and Wales will rise by an average of 1.7% to £419. South West Water customers will pay £515. 

Broadband, phones and TV – £42 or more a year

Sky is hiking prices of broadband and TV channels by an extra £43 a year from April in a fresh cost of living blow. Families will need to fork out an additional £3.60 a month, Sky estimates, as it raises the costs across its services. 

Sky joins other broadband and TV providers such as Virgin Media, which is already set to hike prices by an average of 4% from March 1, 2022.

And BT, TalkTalk and Vodafone are increasing prices by as much as 9%.  

Vehicle excise duty – up 6%, between £10 and £30 a year

Tax on a band E car is increasing from £155 a year to £165.  The most polluting cars are subject to a £30 increase.

Pint of beer – up 5%, 20p each

A cut in VAT has ended meaning landlords say they must add 20p or more to the cost of a pint. To make ends meet they say that £7 a pint might be needed in some London pubs.

Lateral flow tests – £1 to £3 each

Britons will face paying up to £3 per lateral flow test from April 1, despite French supermarkets offering them for three-times cheaper. 

The Prime Minister scrapped ‘free’ lateral flow tests from today. People who opt to keep testing face spending £20 for a box of seven — around £3 per test. 

Total increase:  Up to £2,620-a-year per household

<!—->

Advertisement

But as the war rages on, it is becoming increasingly difficult to export.

Kim Matthews, commercial director at Edible Oils, told the BBC: ‘At the moment, Ukrainian farmers should be sowing the seeds now for the harvest in October and November. 

‘Clearly that’s not going to happen…. we’re probably going to miss the season so we could be impacted for 12-18 months.’

He said it is unclear as to when supply will return to normal, pre-war levels. 

Sunflower oil can be found hundreds of products on supermarket shelves, including ready meals, biscuits and mayonnaise.

Tom Locke, founder of the British Snack Company, told the BBC: ‘There’s an incredible scramble. 

‘Everyone’s doing the same thing. So while sunflower oil is impossible to get at the moment, rapeseed oil is possible but difficult to get as well obviously because everyone’s having the same idea, as prices are skyrocketing at the moment.’

He added that, while his business is trying to absorb the costs, he will have to increase prices if the current situation remains. 

President of the National Edible Oil Distributor’s Association Gary Lewis said rapeseed oil prices have risen ’50 to 70 per cent’ since Russia’s invasion.

And grocery expert Ged Futter has predicted that food inflation will be ‘in excess of 15 per cent’ with the ripple effects from the war leading to ‘scarily high’ price rises.  

It comes as the cost of groceries is now 5.2 per cent higher than it was this time last year, with more shoppers having to turn to cheaper products and supermarket own-brand labels. 

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insights at data analysts Kantar, said last week: ”More and more we’re going to see consumers and retailers take action to manage the growing cost of grocery baskets.

‘Consumers are increasingly turning to own-label products, which are usually cheaper than branded alternatives.

‘Own-label sales are down in line with the wider market but the proportion of spending on them versus brands has grown to 50.6%, up from 49.9% this time last year.

‘Meanwhile the grocers are also adapting their pricing strategies in response to the rising cost of goods.’

Shrinkflation is already having an impact, too, with a number of confectionary companies having cut the size of their products inflation to continue to rise up to eight per cent this spring. 

Cadbury is to reduce the size of its ‘family’ Dairy Milk bar by ten per cent, with US-based parent company Mondelez blaming rising inflation in the production of its chocolate. 

Despite dropping from 200g to 180g, the Dairy Milk ‘sharing’ bar will still be sold at £2 as part of efforts to offset the rising production costs and maintain profitability – a further example of a company passing the impact of rising costs on to customers.

The impact of shrinkflation has already seen size reductions in Walkers multipacks, which now contain fewer bags of crisps, as well as washing powder boxes and Tesco cutting the weight of its Mozzarella cheese.

Shrinkflation has been taking place in the UK for the past decade, with data from the Office for National Statistics having revealed that 206 products shrank in size between September 2015 and June 2017.

That trend is likely to continue this year amid the cost of living crisis. 

Thousands of protesters across Britain, including Jeremy Corbyn, took to the streets on Saturday to demand the government tackles the issue.

A Downing Street protest saw around 100 people, among them former Labour leader, waving signs which read ‘tax the rich’ and ‘freeze energy bills, not people.’

Demonstrations were staged across the nation, including in Belfast where campaigners called for every household in Northern Ireland to receive £1,000 to help mitigate the increasing costs of fuel and food. 

Protesters near Downing Street in central London, at The People's Assembly Against Austerity protest to highlight those suffering hardship from the cost of living crisis on Saturday (pictured)

Protesters near Downing Street in central London, at The People's Assembly Against Austerity protest to highlight those suffering hardship from the cost of living crisis on Saturday (pictured)

Protesters near Downing Street in central London, at The People’s Assembly Against Austerity protest to highlight those suffering hardship from the cost of living crisis on Saturday (pictured)

Protests also happened in cities including Birmingham , Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Doncaster, Glasgow, Hanley, Hull, Ipswich, Lancaster, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Peterborough, Portsmouth, Preston, Redcar, Sheffield and Southampton.

Despite protests, though, Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis warned it is not possible to ‘completely nullify’ the cost of living crisis. 

He said the Government cannot negate all of the impacts of global pressure on energy prices, but ministers will put in supportive measures where possible.

He added that it is ‘looking across the board at what we’re doing with the public’s money’ and will help ‘where it can’ to ease the sting of gas and electricity prices, which soared by 54 per cent on what was nicknamed ‘April cruel day’. 

Source: Daily Mail

5.9k Share this
You May Also Like

More than 100,000 sign petition calling on Tesco to ditch self-service checkouts

Fed-up Tesco shoppers are demanding more manned tills after struggling to use…

‘Ironic’ Disinformation Board Killed by Disinformation

Nina Jankowicz said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “All In” that the Department of Homeland…

Tom Brady Reveals How He Deals with Media Critics

Tom Brady has revealed how he deals with media critics and apparently,…

Plurality of Texas Voters Blame Biden and Congress for High Prices

The left’s narrative on high prices — blaming big oil and Russia’s…

‘The Lord God Blesses Our Struggle, Which Is Just’

ROME — Ukrainian Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk decried the ongoing Russian offensive…

Kathy Barnette Refuses to Support GOP Nominee for Senate if It Is Not Her

GOP U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barnette in an interview on Monday morning…

Biden Pushes ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban in Buffalo Speech

President Joe Biden spoke in Buffalo Tuesday and pushed for an “assault…

Voters Say They Will Stop Using Companies That Push Political Agendas They Disagree With

Likely voters are disillusioned by companies that jump into the political fray…