Inflation in the foodservice market ‘remains high’, figures show

06/02/2019 - 09:35
CGA and Prestige Purchasing’s latest Foodservice Price Index showed that seven of the ten categories monitored registered higher inflation in December 2018 compared to December ‘17.

That said, the cost of fish was at its lowest since July ‘18 having witnessed high inflation for most of last year.

CGA and Prestige Purchasing said this is largely due to “good availability” of salmon during the seasonal peak in demand over Christmas. They do warn that prices are “likely to remain volatile and inflation could remain high” in 2019 though.

Sugar was another category to see year-on-year deflation at -14.9%; as did oils and fats, which saw a “sizeable easing” due to the cost of butter softening by -8% year-on-year. Inflation in the latter does however “remain high.”

Shaun Allen, Prestige Purchasing chief executive, said: “While overall inflation remains high in the foodservice market, it is encouraging to see some much-needed downward movements across a number of categories (in December).

“However, with the departure date from the EU now less than two months away and the uncertainty of what potential impacts this could have on the food and drink supply chain, we are likely to continue to see high levels of volatility during 2019.

“It is more important than ever that businesses have strong risk management plans in place to mitigate and manage the future risks to supply and inflation.”

CGA client director of food, Fiona Speakman, added: “Our Foodservice Price Index indicated significant volatility in price inflation for the sector throughout 2018, and there are already ample signs that we can expect more uncertainty in 2019.

“News of an easing of inflationary pressures in important categories like fish and oils, and fats is welcome respite after months of upward movement, but it is offset by moves in the other direction in categories like soft drinks.

“Businesses across the sector will now be closely watching the impacts of Brexit on foodservice prices and hoping for a period of calmer inflation as the year goes on.”

Inflation in meat and poultry was also down in 2018 compared to 2017, while vegetables, fruit and dairy all showed year-on-year inflation.

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