Daily Express

PM ‘must turn heat on stores over food prices’

- By Steph Spyro Senior Political Correspond­ent

RISHI Sunak must back struggling shoppers by tackling rising food costs, a watchdog has warned.

The Prime Minister is due to meet with supermarke­t bosses at a Downing Street food summit today.

And consumer champion Which? has called on Mr Sunak to address “shockingly high levels” of inflation with the store chiefs.

The price of certain items such as meat, yoghurt and vegetables has doubled compared to last year, it said.

Sue Davies, the Which? head of food policy, said: “It’s very alarming to see products such as meat, cheese and vegetables that people rely on still rapidly soaring in price.

“As the Prime Minister gathers supermarke­t bosses today to discuss the problem of inflation, we urge him to ask supermarke­ts to commit to do much more, including stocking budget lines in convenienc­e stores to ensure easy access to basic, affordable food ranges that support a healthy diet, particular­ly in areas where people are most in need. “Supermarke­ts must also provide transparen­t pricing so people can easily work out which products offer the best value.”

There has been a record 17.8 per cent increase in the cost of fresh food year on year, according to the British Retail Consortium. Which? said inflation in categories that have previously seen the highest rises, including milk, butter and bakery items, has eased slightly.

But other essential food groups like meat, fish and vegetables have continued to rise month on month.

Food inflation reached a Warning...Sue Davies record high of 19.1 per cent in March, the biggest level seen in 45 years.

The No10 summit will prioritise inflation, trade, supply chain resilience and sustainabl­e farming.

The Food and Drink Federation, National Farmers’ Union, British Retail Consortium and Morrisons are among those set to attend.

Treasury officials summoned supermarke­t bosses to crisis talks last week to explain a rapid surge in food prices.

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has increased interest rates to their highest level in 15 years, blaming a “very big underlying shock” in food costs.

Angela Francis, the World Wide Fund for Nature’s director of policy solutions, said: “Food is finally on the agenda in Downing Street. It is impossible to have a conversati­on on the future of the food industry, supply chains and farming economy without putting climate change at the heart of

the conversati­on.”

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Picture: GETTY Cost crisis...supermarke­t prices rising
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