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Sunday, 14 December 2008

Fill your cupboards - food costs to soar

The UK hasn't been self-sufficient in food since the 19th century; a simple submarine blockade brought the nation to near starvation in the Great War, and this was repeated in the second war. Currently we import roughly half the food we eat, to the value last year of about £24bn. Of this half, some 65% is from the EU, with France, Holland and Ireland being our biggest food providers.

Cheese, bacon and ham, poultry meat, sugar, coffee, butter, tea, chocolate, citrus fruit, juices and concentrates, rice and pasta, oils fats seasonings and spices ... the list is a long one. The following DEFRA pie chart shows the source of food consumed in the UK (data sets HERE, chart 7.5)

Now with the pound dropping to parity from around 1.5 Euros to the £, a back of an envelope calculation suggests 65% x 51% = 33% of our food has just risen by 50% in price (never mind the dollar) - a rise overall of 16.5% in our Tesco basket.

I suspect Olive oil, ground coffee, demerara sugar and suchlike stays of civilised life will be disappearing quickly from the supermarket shelves at their current prices. They'll certainly be disappearing into my store cupboards ...

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