Foodservice price inflation jumps back above 20% in April

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Foodservice price inflation jumps back above 20% in April

Related tags Foodservice price inflation Foodservice price index Inflation Cga

Year-on-year inflation in foodservice prices rose unexpectedly to 21.4% in April 2023, according to the new edition of the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index.

Price increases had begun to slow in the first quarter of this year, and inflation dipped below 20% in March for the first time since mid-2022​.

However, the rebound in April underlines the severe cost pressures facing businesses throughout the foodservice sector at the moment.

“After welcome signs respite over the first quarter of the year, it was disappointing to see inflation surge above 20% again in April,” says James Ashurst, client director at CGA by NIQ.

“On top of soaring costs in other key inputs and the impact of the cost of living crisis on consumers, it leaves hospitality businesses facing some seismic challenges.”

The rise was driven by pressure in the vegetables, fish and sugar, jams and syrups categories, each of which saw prices increase by between 3% and 4% month-on-month.

Potatoes, in which the UK is more than 90% self-sufficient, suffered a particularly sharp increase during April, in the wake of rising production costs, labour shortages, lower storage crops and significant short-supply in many parts of Europe.

This supply/demand imbalance looks set to continue for much of the rest of 2023.

More optimistically, conditions within three major upstream influencers on the price of food — oil, exchange rates and commodity markets — are now relatively benign compared to the volatility of 2022.

The cost of Brent Crude oil has eased from $87 per barrel at the beginning of April to below $80 at the end of the month, with more falls expected during May, while sterling has remained stable. Inflation in categories that had been affected by high inflation since the start of the war in Ukraine, including oil and fats and dairy, continues to be subdued.

“In spite of these April increases we expect to see inflation ease slowly over the course of 2023 as commodity pricing and prior year impacts kick in,” says Shaun Allen, Prestige Purchasing CEO.

The major question that remains is the speed of that decline as energy, labour costs and climate change remain significant constraints on progress with inflation reduction.”

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