Brexit is set to push up the price of the British banger, as wholesale pork and beef prices soared over the last year as a result of the weak pound and a surge in export demand.
The cost of beef has rocketed to an all-time high – with prices up almost 40p per kg compared with July 2016 and an 11% increase year on year – according to an analysis by Beacon, a purchasing consortium which buys food for restaurants and hotels.
But while beef prices are set to soften in the longer term, the report predicts, the price of pork is set to remain at high levels.
The price of pork has risen by a third over the last year, and is currently 20% higher than in 2015. Imported pork commodity prices are also rising because of ongoing demand from China in the face of domestic shortages caused by flooding.
“The cost of British, Irish and imported beef has risen and continues to rise dramatically, with current prices at an all-time high,” said Paul Connelly, managing director of Beacon. “Prime beef is in huge demand from both the UK retail and food service sectors but also more critically from abroad.”
Connelly said the latest inflation figures for the food service industry showed overall costs had risen by 9%, “the highest they have been in nine years and … only a matter of time before suppliers and food service outlets will not be able to swallow up these increases and they’ll begin to be passed on to the consumer”.
Beef prices would recover over the next 18 months, he predicted. “However, the same cannot be said for pork production, which looks likely to struggle to remain competitive against international exporters and adverse exchange rates – so your sausages may be set to stay pricey.”
The scale of the wholesale price rises were confirmed by both the National Farmers’ Union and the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), which represents the UK’s major abattoirs and meat processors – including the ABP Food Group, Karro and Tulip – which supply supermarkets and other retailers.
“The commodity price of both pigs and cattle has risen sharply this year, primarily driven by the weakness of the pound and how this is keeping the export markets buoyant,” added Michael Fletcher, commercial director of the Co-op.