Eric Richmond owner Tom Martin said the devaluation of the pound had led to rising demand for meat produced in Yorkshire, which in turn had pushed prices up.
Despite squeezing his firm’s margins, Martin maintained he was “trying to hold the line” and not pass price increases on to retailers. Eric Richmond delivers directly to around 60 independent butchers and delicatessens across South and West Yorkshire.
“I recently did some analysis, and over the past year we’ve seen our meat prices go up an average of 17%,” Martin said.
‘Suppliers have put up prices’
“Pretty much all of our suppliers have put up prices, and on top of that we’ve had the National Living Wage increase to deal with. Despite these factors, we are still trying to hold the line and not pass increases on.”
Martin, who bought the Ossett-based business with wife Anne-Marie in 2014, also expressed concern over what he felt was a lack of information coming from government regarding the Brexit negotiations.
“I know there have been a few published documents lately, but it seems we’re no clearer today than 12 months ago,” he said.
“It would be nice to have a little more clarity and certainty about what’s going to happen going forward. And on the regulation side, there are an awful lot of grey areas and not enough concrete facts about what will happen and how it will happen.”
‘Not enough concrete facts’
Martin also called for the food industry to be more vocal on framing what kind of future it wanted, post Brexit.
“If we are going to be masters of our own destiny, how can we make it easier to comply with new regulations, but at the same time gain better compliance?”
Martin made the unusual step of taking on a food business after a long and successful career in IT – a move he said was down to his love of food as a child. In three years, he has invested in the region of £500,000 into Eric Richmond and doubled turnover to £1M.
Pie-maker Eric Richmond was founded in 1945 by the eponymous former World War II Lancaster bomber pilot.
Meanwhile, don’t miss Martin’s plans to boost production, revealed in our Me and My Factory feature.