To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of rising wheat costs on catering businesses; and whether he plans to take further steps to support (a) small- and (b) medium-sized catering businesses.
28 June 2022
All food businesses, including those operating in the catering sector, are facing challenges due to rising costs stemming from factors such as energy price increases, supply chain disruption and rising labour costs.
Defra has assessed that the pressures on the grain industry will result in impacts being felt in rising prices for cereal products such as bread. Grain used in animal feed will also impact on meat prices, although the timing of effect will vary across products, with poultry quickest impacted due to shorter production timescales.
Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to gather evidence and monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains.
The Government recently published its Food Strategy, and this sets out a plan to transform our food system to ensure it is fit for the future. As part of this, the Government is developing an ambitious and transformational approach to public sector food and catering. We want the public sector to lead by example, championing small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We are consulting on public sector food and catering policy to reflect this ambition. The proposals aim to open public sector procurement to a wider range of businesses and make public procurement more accessible to SMEs.