‘Mad’ regulations to raise grocery bills by £160 a year

Annual grocery bills will soar by £160 if the government accepts proposals on recycling and taxing unhealthy foods, a trade association has warned.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said this would mark a 10 per cent increase in costs for poorer families.

Chief executive Ian Wright claimed manufacturers had reached “breaking point” after keeping prices low despite increasingly expensive raw materials.

“Through the last 16 months our workers have made truly heroic efforts to keep the country fed,” he continued. 

READ MORE: Supermarkets face tax ‘tsunami’ from food report

“Yet now they face a combination of challenges which threaten to deliver food price inflation to already hard-pressed households”

The FDF believes a proposal to make producers responsible for waste and a deposit return scheme would cost the industry £1.7 billion and £850 million respectively.

Salt and sugar taxes recently set out in the National Food Strategy would add on £833 million.

“The suggestion that we should introduce further food taxes at this time is madness,” Wright argued.

“It is an insult to the hardworking families of this country to be told what to do by those who can’t begin to imagine how tough the last year has been.”

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has claimed the levies alone would add £172 to yearly grocery bills.

Restaurateur Henry Dimbley, who proposed the “ultra-processed” food taxes, has argued manufacturers will cut salt and sugar to avoid price increases.

He claimed that industry bosses had confided that they could not make their food healthier without other brands being encouraged to follow suit.

“There is huge scope for reformulation,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

However, Boris Johnson said he was not “attracted” to “extra taxes on hard-working people”.

Even without Dimbleby’s recommendations, the FDF believes other health and environmental measures will land the industry with a bill of £8 billion.



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