Food inflation set to rise by 3.8% in 2014

The cost of food is set to increase by 3.8 per cent next year, according to a new report by Prestige Purchasing.

Even though the rise will be a bit slower than the 4.2 per cent recorded in 2013, it is still higher than the consumer price index rate of 2.3 per cent. The report suggests that the rate may rise even further in 2015 and restaurants should be on the lookout for their profit margins as hospitality employment may soon feel the effects of rising prices.

Looking at foods specifically, beef, cheddar and wine are set to be hit the hardest. In contrast, the cost of pork, salmon and chicken may see drops in the next 12 months, with chicken prices falling considerably by up to seven per cent, due to corn, the common feed for poultry, seeing its cost recently slash by a fifth.

Prestige Purchasing chief executive David Read said: “Unpredictable weather patterns caused by climate change, an ever-increasing global population, rising production costs, commodity futures trading and water scarcity is putting a lot of pressure on food prices around the world. And this isn’t going to stop any time soon. It’s imperative that the food service industry takes steps to ensure that these costs are not simply passed on to consumers, but find ways to safe-guard a quality dining experience."

Managers are being advised to use fewer items, offer flexibility with portion sizes and create well thought out menus to control stock costs carefully. Furthermore, operators should try to cut back on waste. This follows a report by Wrap which found that the industry's food waste bill could reach £3 billion by 2016.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency in the food industry.