Cheap food era over, consumers warned

The owner of the biggest poultry supplier in the United Kingdom has told consumers to get ready for a "reset" of pricing, as an ever-greater amount of increased production costs will inevitably result in higher food prices in the shops.
In the wake of supply chain problems caused by a shortage of lorry drivers, and the on-going spiralling cost of fuel, Ranjit Singh Boparan, who owns the Bernard Matthews brand and 2 Sisters Food Group, said chicken, the most popular meat in the UK, could become up to 10 percent more expensive.
"Food is too cheap," he said. "The days when you could feed a family of four with a 3 pound ($4.11) chicken are coming to an end. We need transparent, honest pricing. This is a reset and we need to spell out what this will mean."
Boparan's groups own 600 farms and 16 factories, with a workforce of 18,000 people, and he said that on all sides, there was increasing financial pressure. Energy costs, he said, had gone up 450-550 percent on last year, veterinary bills had risen by up to 20 percent, staff wages were 15 percent higher and the shortage of drivers made their services more costly as well.
"How can it be right that a whole chicken costs less than a pint of beer?" he said. "You're looking at a different world where the shopper pays more."
His words will come as a further blow to British consumers who are already being warned about supply chain issues in the run-up to Christmas, and with millions of families facing a cut in their income as a result of the government's decision to end the twenty pound a week Universal Credit bonus payment, brought in earlier in the pandemic.
Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution think tank, which focuses on the lives of people on low and middle incomes, tweeted that this cut would mean "4.4 million households, with 5.1m adults and 3.5m children, will see their incomes fall by 1,000 pounds overnight".
"For 1 million households, that will mean an immediate loss of over 10 percent of their income."
The wider consumer outlook is no brighter, with a

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