World bread prices: soaring costs push UK loaf up table
18 January, 2008
Spiralling flour and fuel costs have helped propel the UK up the global ranking for bread prices, but the country remains one of the cheapest places to buy bread in the world.
Figures from the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU's) Worldwide Cost of Living Survey show the average price of a kilo of bread in London rose from £1.09 in September, 2006, to £1.45 a year later. In Manchester, prices rose from 88p to £1.11.The EIU said rises had been compounded by the strength of sterling and the weakness of the US dollar, which has seen the relative cost boosted further compared to countries with weakening currencies or those linked to the dollar."Bread prices in the UK have risen in local currency terms as rising commodity prices have been passed on to consumers," said Jon Copestake, food and drink analyst and EIU survey editor. "In Manchester, the prices we surveyed rose 15.2% in the last year, although only 1.2% in the past six months. In London, bread prices rose 20.1% in the past year, 13.6% of which came in the last 6 months."Despite the price rises, the UK is still one of the cheapest places in the world to buy bread. Of 130 cities surveyed around the world, London ranked number 70, up from 81 in 2006, in terms of price, while Manchester was at 93, up from 103. "Bread in the UK is seen as more of a staple than other countries. Production is highly developed and commoditised," said Copestake. "Large scale consumption allows companies to exploit economies of scale and the market is highly competitive."The research was based on bread from three categories of retailer. 'Low' covers multiples, such as Tesco, 'medium' equates to top-end supermarkets such as M&S and specialist shops, and 'high' comprises food halls.