The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has responded to the latest inflation rates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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Chief executive of the FDF Karen Betts.

ONS revealed that inflation has decreased to 3.4% in February 2024, down from 4% in January. It said that the largest downward contributions to the change in inflation came from food, with the largest effect reportedly coming from bread and cereals. Food inflation itself fell from 7% to 5% between January and February 2024, which ONS said was the lowest annual rate since January 2022.

The ONS also said that food inflation fell across other food types including meat, cheese and eggs, with the exception being oils and fats - this category saw its annual rate rise from 8% in January to 8.3% in February.

“It’s good to see food and drink inflation continue to fall, to 5% in February from 7% in January," said Karen Betts, CEO of the FDF. "This reflects prices stabilising across food and drink supply chains, including energy, alongside manufacturers’ continued and sustained efforts to keep prices down for shoppers.

"Food and drink price inflation should continue to ease in the coming weeks. But some underlying factors are acting against this, from rising labour costs to erratic weather patterns, like this winter’s heavy rainfall across the UK which is impacting agricultural crop yields.

"Investment in our industry is also worryingly low if the UK is to be confident in its food security. And the Government is making UK food and drink less attractive to invest in with its insistence on UK-wide ‘not for EU’ labelling. This is an expensive and unnecessary policy that will particularly hit small businesses and exports, and we’re urging the Government to reconsider. There are good, digital alternatives if the Government wants to monitor food movements in the UK, which in time could also be adapted to ease checks with the EU.”

This story was originally published on a previous version of the Meat Management website and so there may be some missing images and formatting issues.