Bakers could face yet another commodity increase as pork prices are set to soar off the back of higher feed costs and a fall in pig numbers.
Pork prices are expected to rise by 20%, following a poor UK cereal harvest, as new Defra figures suggested that wheat production was down by 13% on last year.
The poor harvest has impacted feed wheat for pig producers, who have been forced to pass on price rises to processors. UK pig prices are now at a three-year high, while prices throughout the rest of the European Union have been rising in recent weeks.
The increase in the cost of pork comes as bakers reel from rises in the cost of flour and other commodities. Cranswick one of the UK’s biggest pork processors claimed recently that declining pig numbers were forcing up wholesale prices.
And Ken McMeikan, chief executive of Greggs, warned city analysts that prices for products made with wheat and pork would have to go up for the consumer, although he added it would only be by pennies.
Anthony Kindred, president-elect of the National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB), said he bought his sausage rolls in for his Herne Hill-based bakery and had not noticed a price increase as yet. However, he warned bakers would be forced to pass on the price rise to the consumer. “Sausage rolls are a staple at many bakers,” he said. “But like a lot of increasing costs, bakers will not be able to absorb them and will have to pass them on to the consumer.”
David Smart, British Baker blogger and managing director of craft bakery chain Greenhalgh’s, was even more damning in his assessment of this latest cost rise. He warned bakers should prepare themselves for a “winter of gloom”, with further hikes expected in the cost of beef and potatoes, and added his pork prices had risen at an alarming rate.