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A week in news: energy price cap for businesses – the latest food and drink headlines 19-23 September

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Molly Long
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Following the funeral of HRH Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, the news was dominated this week by the impacts of the cost of living crisis. From the new business energy cap, to the decline in consumer confidence and lack of access to healthy food, these stories are likely to have long-ranging effects for the food and drink industry:

Government announces business energy cap

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced an energy price cap for UK businesses this week. Electricity prices for those on fixed-term contracts signed on or before 1 April will be capped at £211 per megawatt hour, and gas prices at £75 per megawatt hour. BEIS claimed this represents less than half the anticipated cost of wholesale gas and electric this winter.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has said the support will stop businesses from collapsing under the pressure of energy bills – thereby protecting jobs and limiting inflation. Find out how the food industry has reacted to the news.

Paediatricians told to discuss nutrition and poverty with patients as thousands treated for malnutrition in Scotland

The Royal College of of Paediatrics and Child Health is preparing to issue doctors detailed advice on how they can help families experiencing poverty. It has designed a resource package which will include advice for children on how to talk to their parents about issues like nutrition and diet.

“Don’t shy away from it,” the RCPCH’s new booklet says. “If we aren’t asking families about things which may impact on their children’s health, we are short-changing the children themselves.”

The advice comes as new data revealed the scale of malnutrition in Scotland. According to new figures, hundreds of children are being treated for the health problem, with figures almost doubling last year. The country’s Government said it has made tackling child poverty a “national priority”.

UKRI research council pledges £20M towards sustainable protein R&D

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, part of UKRI, revealed this week that it has earmarked at least £20 million towards the development of more sustainable protein sources.

The council said the money will go towards “capacity building, research, innovation and business-led commercialisation” within the sustainable protein sector. See what GFI Europe said of the funding announcement.

ONS reports fall in UK retail sales in August

The Office for National Statistics has revealed retail sales volumes fell by 1.6% in August 2022, continuing a downward trend experienced throughout the summer. Food store sales volumes in particular fell by 0.8%, which leaves it 1.4% below pre-COVID-19 levels from February 2020.

British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) CEO Andrew Goodacre said: “The cost of living crisis has damaged consumer confidence and reduced spending, and that is a real concern for independent retailers as we approach the most important time of the year for retail sales. These latest figures show how difficult life is on the high street.”

Sainsbury’s opens walk-in freezer pop-up to tackle food waste

Taking a leaf out of competitor Iceland’s book, Sainsbury’s announced this week it would be launching a pop-up freezer store in London. The motivation behind the move is to educate shoppers on how to use their freezer to tackle food waste – a habit Britons can’t seem to kick.

Milk, bread, produce, dairy and meat will all be available from the store, but the items will all be shown in ways that promote “innovative freezing” practices. Learn more about making food last longer.

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