`City analysts are expecting the price of branded bread to go up by around 5p on an 800g loaf next month, as plant bakers seek to cover rising flour and energy costs.

David Lang of Investec said he was expecting prices to move on branded loaves this month after plant bakers failed to push through a satisfactory price rise after flour prices went up in September.

He commented: "Disappointing price increases were achieved in September on branded products. The full flour price increase of 28-29p was not recovered. The real question is whether private label will go up again. It already went up 16p in November, but the supermarkets have got to sort out profitability on own-label."

Federation of Bakers director Gordon Polson commented: "In the past months the costs to bakers such as energy and flour have increased and the point has come where these costs have to be recovered - for our plant baker as well as our sandwich maker members. Bread is still excellent value compared to a cup of coffee in Starbucks!"

The price of the average 800g branded loaf rose approximately 6p in 2006, according to British Baker research, although some lines such as Hovis Country Grain wholemeal went up 27p to £1.26 between January 2006 and this month. Inflation is currently running at 3% - its highest level since 1992.