Fish prices jump as veg pressures ease

The cost of fish has soared since the start of the year—but inflation in the price of vegetables could be starting to slow.  

Those are some of the key takeaways from the latest Foodservice Price Index from Prestige Purchasing and CGA Strategy. The report highlights the substantial upward pressure on prices across the foodservice sector at the moment, with inflation reaching 6.0% in March. It continues a steady increase in the rate of inflation, from 1.8% in December to 2.9% in January and 3.7% in February.

One of the reasons for the acceleration is the sharply rising price of fish, where inflation hit 19.9% in March. It is down to a combination of impacts, led by poor catches for cod and US salmon and sea lice problems that have added to farming costs. The weak pound and rising oil prices are two more factors, pushing up the cost of fish imports and transportation.

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The struggles of sterling since the UK’s Brexit vote have helped to push up prices in many other import markets too, like sugar, oils and coffee. With Brexit negotiations only just getting underway, the Foodservice Price Index suggests there will be little improvement in the pound’s value in the foreseeable future—which means import prices are likely to stay high.

Prices for vegetables are still well above seasonal averages but have at least stopped rising. This is due to the effects of the cold winter in Europe diminishing, and the increase in UK production that comes at this time of year. Assuming no more shocks to the market, the Index forecasts that the recent volatility in vegetable prices will start to be smoothed over as the year goes on.     

Read more about the key findings from the Foodservice Price Index and download an exclusive summary here