Photo: Jw.Org

Supply issues, labour costs, high fuel costs driving up food prices: Survey

*Food supply chain industry experts have explained several reasons why food costs have spiked, as prices of fish, meat, poultry, and eggs are leading costs higher in the markets

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Most consumers know that food prices are going up in several economies around the world in recent times.

However, industry experts submitted the reason why they’re going up is a bit more complicated, agency report said.

ConsumerConnect also learnt that food industry supply chain executives recently gathered at a virtual forum hosted by the Heritage Foundation.

Grains and foodstuffs

Officials from the North American Meat Institute, the Consumer Brands Association, and the Food Industry Association were all present, according to agency report.

At the forum, speakers from the organisations offered several reasons for why food costs have spiked, rising 10 percent May 2022.

The discussants pointed to higher fuel prices, which, in turn, have increased transportation costs.

The stakeholders also mentioned the food supply industry faces higher Labour costs and ongoing supply chain bottlenecks.

“I think the broader question is ‘What is not contributing to higher food prices?’” said Jennifer Hatcher, Chief Public Policy Officer in Government Relations at the Food Industry Association.

Likewise, Mark Dopp, Chief Counsel at the North American Meat Institute, said that meat prices had risen sharply in the face of a surprising level of continued demand.

Dopp characterised some of it as “panic buying.”

Producers, he noted, simply cannot meet the demand for meat, and inflation-battered consumers have not reduced their spending.

After fuel, food costs have been among the biggest drivers of inflation this year.

However, there is some good news. Just like gasoline, some experts believe food inflation may have peaked for a while.

However, even if prices level off, they are still very expensive in certain lands, including the United States (US).

Economists, therefore, are expected to get a peek at the latest numbers when the US Labor Department issues its Consumer Price Index (CPI) for June 2022.

Fish, meat, poultry, and eggs are leading costs higher

In May this year, for instance, the cost of food prepared and consumed at home rose faster than food at restaurants, experts stated.

The costs of fish, poultry, meats, and eggs rose the fastest, increasing by 14.1 percent.

Even if the data indicated that prices slowed their increase June 2022, Mark Welch, Grain Marketing Economist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, as well  opined it’s impossible to decouple food prices from the cost of energy.

Welch told The Daily Signal: “When you see the price of energy go up, you are going to see the price of a lot of things go up.

“That applies at the grocery store, at the restaurant.

“Food prices are very sensitive to the price of energy so it is an effort of a lot of these factors that have contributed to creating the type of situation we are in today.”

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