To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of (a) the comparative rate of food price inflation in (i) the UK, (ii) France and (iii) Germany between 2003 and 2015 and (b) the reasons for differences between those inflation rates in that period.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
4 February 2015
According to Eurostat, between 2003 and 2014 food prices rose by 47% in the UK, 17% in France and 23% in Germany. This reflects how the key drivers (commodity prices, exchange rates and oil prices) impact on each market. Over the period the euro appreciated relative to the pound, lowering food inflation for Eurozone countries relative to the UK. In addition, the UK’s competitive domestic market transmits more of the changes in the key drivers to consumers, which can lead to higher inflation when commodity prices and oil prices rise, but keeps prices lower overall.
Recent reductions in global commodity prices have been more fully transmitted into retail prices in the UK, at the same time as an appreciation of the pound relative to the euro. Food prices fell by 1.7% in the UK in 2014 compared to 0.6% and 0.8% in France and Germany respectively.
Despite higher inflation in the UK over the period, according to Eurostat food prices in the UK in 2013 (in purchasing power parities) were 7% lower than both France and Germany.