Food prices could rise further because exceptionally wet
weather has led to delays in the harvest, industry
experts have told the BBC.
Farmers say they are behind on gathering in crops and
are using large amounts of fuel to dry them out so they
can be stored.
But others say worldwide supplies are plentiful enough
to keep prices stable.
Food prices in UK shops have risen by 8.3% since
January, an index compiled for the BBC said last week.
Farmers say this growing season started well but
torrential rain means harvesting has been delayed, and
in some areas only a tiny percentage of crops have been
BBC environment correspondent Sarah Mukherjee said
farmers across Britain are reporting damage to combine
harvesters as they try to cut crops in waterlogged
Water can be wrung out of grain by hand as it is so wet,
and thousands of pounds is being spent on fuel to dry
sodden crops. Some say next year's planting has already
Some in the industry fear that this will inevitably mean
higher prices in the shops.
But others maintain that if the weather turns, the
quantity and quality of the harvest could still be good.
The food price index produced for the BBC last week
showed meat and fish up 22.9% with fresh fruit and
vegetables up 14.7%.
Retail analysts Verdict Research also found price rises
of nearly 50% for some individual food items.