Although the rise will be slower than this year's (4.2 per cent) it will still be above the consumer price index rate of inflation of 2.3 per cent and could become higher yet again in 2015, said Prestige Purchasing chief executive David Read, who urges restaurant, pub and hotel operators to take steps to minimise the impact of the rise on their businesses.
“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," he said. "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”.
To keep on top of prices operators are advised to control stock costs by creating well-developed menus that use fewer items, focus on the provenance of ingredients used to boost consumer confidence and offer flexibility with portion sizes.
Prestige Purchasing also urged foodservice operators to cut back on food waste after a report by WRAP found that the industry's food waste bill could reach £3bn by 2016 if nothing is done to cut back.
"Research has already shown that avoidable waste amounts to £296 million for the industry, and two-thirds of food thrown away could actually be eaten if it had been better managed, prepared and/or stored," said Read.
Winners and losers
While beef, hit by rising production costs, cheddar, affected by limited milk supply and wine, suffering from both poor harvests in 2012 and increasing taxation, will continue to see their prices rise next year, there will be some winners in the food inflation battle, Prestige Purchasing said.
The cost of chicken, a key ingredient for the increasing number of specialist chicken restaurant operators, could drop by up to 7 per cent as corn, a common feed for poultry is expected to fall by up to 20 per cent.
Pork costs are also expected to fall and the price of salmon, which has suffered years of rises due to changing sea temperatures and shorter fishing periods, will start to stablise as high prices are labelled as unsustainable by buyers.