Food price rises ‘likely’ in coming months

Shoppers will soon be paying more for food as supply chain chaos takes a toll on shelf prices, industry data suggests.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) believes that rising transport costs and Brexit disruption will hit customer pockets in the “coming months”.

Although food prices fell for the fifth consecutive month in August, BRC-NielsenIQ research shows their rate of fall has halved since July.

Fresh food prices dropped by 0.6 per cent last month, up from a 1 per cent decline four weeks earlier.

READ MORE: Driver shortage could push food prices higher, warn hauliers and supermarkets

However, ambient food inflation fell from 0.5 per cent to 0.3 per cent.

“Food retailers are fighting to keep their prices down as far as possible,” BRC chief Helen Dickinson said.

“But mounting pressures – from rising commodity and shipping costs as well as Brexit-related red tape – mean this will not be sustainable for much longer.

“Food price rises are likely in the coming months.”

She called on the government to tackle the projected increase by solving the shortfall of HGV drivers.

Britain is thought to need around 90,000 hauliers, which has prompted grocers, including Tesco and Asda, to hand out £1000 bonuses to new recruits.

“Disruption has been limited so far, but in the run-up to Christmas the situation could get worse, and customers may see reduced choice and increased prices,” Dickinson continued.

She said ministers should “swiftly and rapidly” increase the number of HGV driving tests taking place and provide temporary visas for EU drivers.

Although some have pointed the finger for driver shortages at Brexit, mainland Europe is also suffering from a drought of around 400,000 hauliers.

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