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Squeezed food businesses forced to pass on costs to customers

Food and drink firms are having to pass on higher costs to customers (Steven Paston/PA)
Food and drink firms are having to pass on higher costs to customers (Steven Paston/PA)

Considerably more food businesses are being forced to pass on their rising costs to customers as they reported being worse hit by inflation than many other companies.

The Office for National Statistics said that 58% of food and beverage businesses have reported passing on price rises to customers in March.

In the economy as a whole 37% of all businesses reported the same.

It comes as the data shows food and drink companies are being especially squeezed by inflation across the economy.

“Our suppliers have increased the cost of many of our materials. We have had to recover much of this by pushing the prices up for our customers,” one unnamed food retailer said.

Just 3% of food and drink companies said they had not been impacted by price rises, that was nearly seven times lower than all businesses (20%).

Companies across the country are struggling to find new staff, with 60% saying that have seen a low number of applications for jobs in March.

It has meant that 29% of food and drinks companies have started paying their existing staff more, and around the same proportion are paying higher wages for new recruits.

These businesses are also more likely to be suffering from extra costs caused by Brexit and the end of the transition period.

“Goods imported are taking longer to reach us. They cost more, and we are having to consider other suppliers’ goods whose prices are greater than what we bought before,” said one animal feed manufacturer.

In March 60% of food and drink companies said they were being impacted by energy price rises, compared to 38% across all sectors.

“Prices have shot up in an unprecedented manner. Then electricity prices and wages on top of our raw materials – it’s very difficult. We are struggling to keep pace with the increases,” one food manufacturer said.

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