UK & World News
UK Families Face Sharp Rise In Food Costs
British families are being warned to brace themselves for a 15% hike in food costs.
The wet summer has ruined many crops while farmers struggle to cope with the soaring costs of animal feed and are slaughtering or selling off their stock.
Food prices in the UK have risen by 32% since 2007, double the EU average, according to figures compiled by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Economists now expect the cost of a weekly shop to continue to rise by around 4% a year until 2022 at least.
Sky correspondent James Matthews said: "World food prices are expected to rise above last year's all time high - and some economists predict that in the UK we will be paying up to 15% more at the check-out by June next year."
Earlier this week, the Potato Council said a "perfect storm" of misery was hitting the industry.
Its chairman, Allan Stevenson, said: "The combination of low yielding potato crops, increased crop spraying costs and increased wastage from problems such as greening, soft rots and growth cracks has massively increased the average cost of producing a tonne of potatoes in 2012 to over £200 per ton.
"There is now a perfect storm of misery in the industry as most fresh and processing potatoes are sold by farmers to packers and processors at fixed prices far lower than the cost of production and they in turn are not able to cover their costs from retail and food service customers.
"There is a market price for things like potatoes and at the moment the market price is not reflected in retailers and that needs to change over time."
The worst drought in the US for almost a century, combined with droughts in South America and Russia, have hit the production of crops used in animal feed especially hard.
As a result farmers have begun slaughtering more pigs and cattle, temporarily increasing the meat supply - but causing a steep rise in the price of meat in the long-term as production slows.
Julia Glotz, fresh food editor at industry magazine The Grocer, said: "A lot of foods rely on grains either directly or indirectly so when grains prices move as dramatically as they have, immediately you start worrying about the impact it's going to have on prices in supermarkets in the UK."