Food costs increase by 21% as supermarket profits spiral
Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has called on the major food suppliers to exercise restraint in passing on fuel increases to the consumers after it was revealed that average family food costs have increased by over £60 per week.
Mitchel McLaughlin said:
"While I accept that rising fuel costs impact on distribution I believe that food suppliers need to examine the temptation to simply pass the increases on to the consumer. The latest profits declarations of the major supermarket chains once more showed massive pre-tax profits. I believe that these multi-nationals the need to display a degree of social responsibility by holding down food costs.
"While supermarket profits continue to increase dramatically the average annual household food bill has increased by 21% or £749 in the past twelve months or some £60 per week. Added to the other increases in fuel, energy etc there is a danger that the most vulnerable in society such as the elderly, those on fixed incomes and benefits will be forced to choose between eating and heating.
"The extent of supermarket declared profits would suggest the ability to absorb, at least in the short to medium term, much of the increased distribution costs.
"At a time of a rapid rise in the cost of living which is hitting the most vulnerable in society I would call on supermarkets to show social responsibility by keeping the cost of essential food as low as possible even if it means smaller dividends for shareholders." ENDS
Note to Editors
The Consumer Council has estimated food prices based on average spend on food from the Family Spending Survey 2007 and research from mysupermarket.co.uk on percentage price increases on June 17 2008.