Bread prices to rise after bad crop

Andover Advertiser: Bakers are facing a 50-pound-a-ton hike in the price of flour Bakers are facing a 50-pound-a-ton hike in the price of flour

Consumers have been warned of price rises for bread and cakes after the wet spring reduced crop yields.

Bakers are facing a £50-a-ton hike in the price of flour - equivalent to 13% of the cost of the raw material - and some of that increase is certain to be passed on to customers, said the chairman of the National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB).

Prices in shops and supermarkets have already gone up after a year of unsettled weather conditions, which forced the highest levels of wheat imports for three decades.

NAMB chairman Mike Holling told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's not been good at all. Unfortunately, when you have the weather we have had - early in the year very dry conditions and then as the year progressed we came to the very wet weather - this really reduced the total yield of British wheat production."

Mr Holling said the impact of the poor crop was now being felt in increased prices for the flour bakers use to produce bread, cakes, pies and savoury snacks.

"At this moment we are seeing increases come through. We saw an increase come through in September. We are just about to take another increase.

"We have taken a flour increase of £50 a ton, and that is roughly 13%. At the end of the day, the manufacturer can't sustain that kind of increase. As the end user, we try to pass a small amount of the percentage on to the consumer and absorb the rest, but this is very volatile."

Mr Holling said he had never known a situation like it in the baking industry, adding: "People are very concerned. What we are seeing at the moment, even in the supermarkets, is a 400g loaf having to go up by 5p and an 800g can go up by 10p.

"And flour is not only used in bread, it is pastry, cream cakes, savoury products. It is right across the board. The problem is the shortfall in wheat production in the UK. It has been reported that we are having to take an extra two million tons from Germany just to bring it back."

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