Foodservice Price Inflation Accelerated 6% in March

Foodservice price inflation reached 6.0% in March, according to the latest edition of the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index, thanks to a dramatic rise in the price of fish and inflation in sugar, meat, cereals and vegetables.

The figure shows that inflation in wholesale foodservice prices is increasing, following year-on-year inflation of 1.8% in December 2.9% in January and 3.7% in February.

There is now a significant gap between the Foodservice Price Index and the Consumer Price Index, which changed 1.2% in the 12 months to March.

Prices in the foodservice sector continue to be affected by a range of factors including the weak pound, rising oil prices and lower than usual supply of many items, as well as climatic and regional issues.

The inflation rate of 6.0% is considerably higher compared to historical averages, and March prices were higher year-on-year in all ten sub-categories of the Foodservice Price Index measured by Prestige Purchasing and CGA Strategy.

The most significant inflation in March came in the category of fish, where prices were up by 19.9% on a year previously.

Christopher Clare, head of consulting and insight at Prestige Purchasing, said: “Whilst the inflationary figures regarding fish will no doubt make the headlines this month, the overall level of inflation has really been driven by ‘across the board’ price increases as the real effects of a prolonged depression in the value of sterling take their toll on operators – being informed at times like this is critical.”

Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA Strategy, said: “Our latest CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index reveals the scale of inflationary pressures facing the foodservice sector at the moment. The weak pound is causing major headaches for businesses in the supply chain that rely on imports, and various other external factors are adding to the burden. With inflation unlikely to ease soon, foodservice companies will need to adopt smart pricing strategies and stay nimble and flexible in their purchasing in the coming months.”