Rising inflation is going to persist in 2022 and it is time shoppers and consumers get used to it, a food and farming industry leader has warned.
Speaking at a National Farmers Union event in London on Tuesday (14), Jayne Almond, the FDF’s director of policy and corporate affairs, warned Britons to brace themselves for higher prices.
“The specter of rising inflation is going to haunt us into the new year,” said Almond at the event.
“Our worry is that this is the new normal and something we across industry and also shoppers and consumers need to get used to.”
UK’s slaughterhouses and produce farms have been hit by worker shortages and transport bottlenecks this year while rocketing prices of fertilizer, energy, packaging and feed are adding to the woes. All these pressures will be maintained on both manufacturers and consumers after Christmas, according to the Food and Drink Federation.
The inflationary pressures in the U.K. are echoed worldwide, with a United Nations’ gauge of global food prices near an all-time high while manufacturers have been absorbing some of the gains until now, they won’t be able to fully offset the blow, Almond said. Food prices rose 1.3 per cent in October versus last year, government data show.
Labour shortage emerged as the main pain point in the farming sector. While Hog producers were forced to cull tens of thousands of healthy pigs in recent months as slowdowns at slaughterhouses caused severe backlogs on farms, vegetable producers had to throw away tonnes of produce due to lack of staff to process them.
Sweet corn and green beans were left to rot across the country, said group managing director Julian Marks, citing the example of vegetable producer Barfoots who had to throw away 700 tons of zucchini this year as there weren’t enough people to process them.
Bob Carnell, chief executive officer of meat company ABP’s U.K. division, said at the event that spiking inputs and utility costs means the “cost of food will go up,” and labor shortages will force companies to cut down on their range of products.