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Food Supply

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 99081, tabled on 6 January 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to (a) mitigate the impact of increasing costs of food for consumers and (b) ensure that suppliers of food are adequately supplied.

Answered on

14 January 2022

Consumer food prices depend on a range of factors including food import prices, domestic agricultural prices, domestic labour and manufacturing costs, and Sterling exchange rates, all of which fluctuate over time. Some of these factors are influenced by our trading arrangements with other countries.    Most food sectors businesses (retail etc) are accustomed to fluctuations in supply chain costs so they do not necessarily translate into consumer price rises. Food prices are set individually by businesses and it is not for the UK Government to set retail food prices nor to comment on day-to-day commercial decisions by companies.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built supply from diverse sources; strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.