A week in news: food prices hit 42-year high – the latest food and drink headlines 17-21 October
This week has been a chaotic one for the UK. Headlines from the sixth and penultimate week of Liz Truss’s premiership included, but were not limited to: an almost complete U-turn on tax cuts promised in the mini-budget, the departure of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary, the resignation and subsequent ‘un-resignation’ of the Tory party’s Chief Whip, reports of backbenchers being physically manhandled into voting, and Truss resigning. Food news has largely been concentrated on the worsening cost of living crisis, which the Government has yet to provide ongoing support for. Here are the biggest food headlines of the week:
Soaring food prices push UK inflation back into double digits
One of the biggest stories this week was the news food prices hit a 42-year high in the 12 months to September 2022. The last time the current rate of food inflation was this bad, Margaret Thatcher was in Number 10.
Skyrocketing food prices were the biggest driver of general inflation, which hit double figures once again. The 10.1% figure equals the inflation rate from July, which at the time was highest rate seen since the 1980s. Find out which food products saw the biggest increases.
1 in 7 Brits are skipping meals, TUC findings show
The scale of food inflation in the UK has pushed more people towards hunger. Approximately 14% of people in the are skipping meals regularly or going without food completely to save money, a new poll released by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) revealed this week. The TUC poll also revealed the news that two fifths of Britons were cutting back on food spending, with some areas of the UK hit harder than others.
In Bootle, Birmingham Ladywood and Liverpool Walton, six in 10 people were reducing the amount they spend on food. In comparison, three in 10 residents were doing this in wealthier areas like Richmond Park, Chelsea and Fulham in London. Read what the TUC is demanding the Government do to fix the problem.
Tyson Foods and JBS ignite debate after investing in wearable monitoring system for workers
Two of the world’s biggest meat processing companies – Tyson Foods and JBS – sparked ethical debates after it was reported that both had invested in smartwatch technology that tracks worker movements. The companies say the tech is a means to boost worker safety in a notoriously dangerous profession.
However critics are saying the technology’s inclusion of a ‘productivity score’ is harmful for workers. “It just creates a sense of paranoia where…the feeling is that if you’re not constantly moving, you might be fired,” remarked Irene Tung, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst at the National Employment Law Project. Explore the arguments for and against the technology.
Bird flu ‘prevention zone’ declared across Great Britain
Strict biosecurity rules were put in place this week as the country continues to battle its worst bird flu outbreak ever. At midday on Monday, it became a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict measures to protect flocks, including keeping free-range birds in fenced areas and stringent biosecurity for staff on farms.
Alongside domestic and farm birds, the disease has also ripped its way through breeding colonies of wild birds, killing thousands and likely upsetting local wildlife. Understand the background behind the issue.
German food prices increase by nearly 20% as country witnesses highest inflation rate in 30 years
Germany has seen an 18.7% increase in food prices year-on-year, according to figures for September 2022 released by the country’s Federal Statistical Office. General inflation in the country has also hit double figures – which is the highest level the country has seen since its reunification in 1990.
As with the UK, food inflation has been driven by dairy, meat and bread. Find out more about how Germany is dealing with its cost of living crisis.