Food prices continue to fluctuate

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Prices continue to fluctuate
Prices continue to fluctuate
Volatile meat, butter and fish prices would affect the catering sector as prices keep fluctuating across a range of products, the spring 2018 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast has warned.

The purchasing company looked at pricing and product trends, predicting what was likely to happen in 2018.

Its report stated that the high-profile investigation by the Food Standards Agency into catering butchers was causing challenges for the beef sector and claimed strong export demand for beef was pushing up prices for UK customers.

There is more caution about using the trimmings from primal cuts, which increases not only the price caterers pay for steaks and joints, but also for beef mince to make menu favourites such as pies and burgers,” ​the report stated.

Fluctuations continue

Meanwhile, the report said dairy prices had eased from the very high prices”​ seen in 2017 and the price of butter was softening, but was still higher than a year ago. As fluctuations continued, this would affect operators and the range of products that use butter as an ingredient.

Fish was another area where availability and prices were likely to fluctuate. The report said that new regulations had been put in place that aim to significantly reduce catches of wild sea bass and help boost regeneration of stocks.

With shellfish it said that fresh crab meat prices had recently increased by 10-15%, mainly due to increased demand from China.

Native flat fish such as brill, dabs, Dover sole, megrim and witch would be good value during spring, the report.

Salad concerns

As demand increases towards the summer, there are concerns about the Spanish salad crop, which has been affected by low water levels.

The availability and price of leafy salads including little gem and iceberg, and hard salads including peppers, speciality tomatoes and cucumbers, may be affected before the UK and Dutch seasons get underway, Lynx Purchasing stated. Volumes would build towards May, it predicted.

The report also stated that soya bean oil had been causing concern on the commodities market due to dry growing conditions in Argentina and parts of Brazil. While prices had stabilised, the effect on supplies and prices would need to be monitored, it said.

It also raised concerns about the impact on prices of the sugar tax on soft drinks, which will come into force on 6 April.

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