Thursday 12 August 2010

The Price of Bread

The price of grain has increased by 50% since June, caused by severe floods in Canada and heatwaves in Russia which produces a third of the worlds grain, as a result both countries are moving to restrict exports in grain.

The baking industry is already warning that customers can expect to be hit by 15% price rises (10p on a loaf of bread).

According to the Office for National Statistics, the average price of a loaf of sliced bread in Britain is £1.19. It was a mere 65p five years ago.

It is estimated that the cost of wheat makes up about 57 per cent of a loaf of bread, with the baking, packaging and distribution of it accounting for the rest.

The wheat harvest is now (August) well under way in parts of the midlands and northern England while yields of all crops pointed to a much more variable harvest than in previous years.

Farmer workers are reporting to Country Standard that after such a dry growing season, crops on heavy and chalk ground appear to be performing the best, while those on light and brashy soils have suffered badly from drought. Frustratingly, many farmers and farm workers are now struggling to get combining due to the August showers.

However, British farmers this year are stillexpecting a bumper harvest,but prices will rise in line with the global market.

The impact on household budgets of the increasing cost of basic food, such as bread, will undoubtedly fall hardest on the poor and raises yet again the issue of Britain's over reliance on imported food.

In the past British people have rioted to ensure cheap bread, as we move towards the £1:30 loaf, we will see increasing protests at the cost of such a basic food item and how communities can work with farmers to secure adequate long term British production at affordable prices