Are rises in UK food prices out of line with global trends?
Food prices have been hitting headlines in recent months.
The UK CPIH* has increased by 2.3% year-on-year, to July 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics. Meanwhile the food category of the CPIH increased by 1.9%, with meat recording a 1.6% rise and dairy products up almost 3%. During the same period, transport has risen by 6%.
In the US, food prices have risen by 1% year-on-year to July 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI). Meat (which excludes poultry) prices have declined by almost 1% which was driven by a decline in pork prices while beef recorded a slight increase. The decline in food prices in Ireland was driven by almost all categories, including meat which recorded a decline of 3%, according to CSO Ireland. Within this, beef and lamb both recorded declines, of 5% and 6% respectively, while pork prices increased by 3%.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation produces a global food price index, which in August recorded a 5% year-on-year decline, drive by declines in the oils (-16%) and sugar (-23%) categories and also supported by a decline in dairy (-11%). Meat also recorded declines, albeit smaller, while cereals prices rose 10%. The decline within meat has been almost entirely due to sharp declines within pig meat, and poultry. During August, the FAO ovine meat index stood 11% higher year-on-year, with some of the prior months recording growth of over 30%. Bovine meat remained steady on the year, while pig meat has bucked the red meat trend, recording a 13% decline.
Overall, the UK is not alone in recording rises in food prices recently, with many other major economies recording similar trends.
*Consumer price index including owner-occupied housing
Due to different methodologies for consumer price index and variations in what is included within food and meat categories data between different countries may not be directly comparable
Rebecca Oborne, Analyst
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