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    Unilever denies claims of profiteering

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    FMCG giant Unilever has denied allegations of “greedflation, insisting that they are protecting shoppers from inflation, amid accusations that some companies are profiteering from the cost of living crisis.

    “We are not profiteering in any form,” the chief executive of Unilever, Alan Jope, said as the consumer goods company insisted it was only passing on three-quarters of its increased costs to customers

    “We are very conscious that the consumer is hurting and that’s why we are not passing through the full price increases and are asking shareholders to bear some of the burden.”

    Jope said he did not expect prices to begin to fall any time soon and that the business continued to experience large increases in the price of its raw materials, including a 20 per cent jump in the price of chemicals, a 15-30 per cent rise in cocoa and sugar, and up to a 20 per cent increase in soya bean oil.

    “There is still high inflationary pressure,” Jope said.

    His comments came as Unilever announced a 10.5 per cent increase in sales in the first three months of the year led by a 10.7 per cent rise in prices, indicating a dip in volumes. Sales of beauty, bathing and cleaning products had the fastest growth, while the amount of nutrition items, such as mayonnaise and stock cubes, fell back as prices increased by 13.4 per cent.

    On the other hand, supermarket Sainsbury’s also made similar claims, saying that the  the supermarket chain would do everything it could as fast as possible to pass on any decrease in the price of goods.

    Roberts has also said that widespread retail price falls were not likely to come soon as energy and labour costs continued to rise. Cost of fresh foods such as meat, dairy and vegetables was likely to fall first, he said, pointing to a recent cut in the retail price of milk as an example.

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