Manufacturers to meet with Jeremy Hunt to discuss food costs

Manufacturers to meet with Jeremy Hunt to discuss food costs

Meat and food manufacturers are meeting with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to discuss the current high cost of UK food and to help Government better understand the challenges the industry faces.

The Chancellor said: “High food prices are proving stubborn so we need to understand what’s driving that. That’s why I’m asking industry to work with us as we halve inflation, to help ease the pressure on household budgets.”

The Government said the meeting is building on engagement between the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the UK’s biggest supermarkets earlier this month and the Chancellor will ask food manufacturers to do what they can to support consumers.

The food and drink manufacturing sector is the largest in the UK, accounting for nearly 20% of total UK manufacturing and employing almost half a million people across the country.

While rising food prices in the UK are in line with the EU average and headline inflation fell by 0.3% last month, food inflation grew to 19.2%. Food inflation disproportionately affects low-income households, who spend more of their income on food and are less able to swap what they would usually buy for cheaper alternatives.

On the same day, the Chancellor will meet with the independent Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) to discuss the scope of their investigations into road fuel and groceries markets, including the possible action they could take if they are dissatisfied with the level of competition in the sector which could be allowing higher prices to prevail. The Government wants it to be easier for consumers to compare the prices of products, and the CMA is currently reviewing the use of unit pricing both in-store and online in the groceries sector. The Government will consider updating pricing rules, including by strengthening the Price Marking Order 2004 (Retained EU Law), after the CMA review has concluded.

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