Meat prices contribute to soaring inflation

Surging meat prices have contributed to the biggest one-month inflation rate jump in British history.

According to data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday (13 May), food prices have risen by 6.6% over the past year, the highest since CPI was first used to measure inflation in 1997. Meat had a large upward effect on this rise, especially beef and pork where overall prices rose this year, but fell a year ago.

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) reveals that pork has seen the biggest rise, up 7.4% in April compared to a 0.1% fall last year. Beef rose 4.2%, against a drop of 1% twelve months ago.

Imported lamb was up 2.7% compared with a drop of 4.1% in 2007, while home killed lamb was up 5% compared with a 0.6% rise in 2007.

The upward effect of meat on the CPI was partially offset by chicken breasts, where prices fell this year but rose a year ago. The RPI shows that overall, poultry saw a rise of 1.2%, compared to a 2.8% rise last year.

The rise in meat prices has been attributed to escalating production costs and rising demand in fast-growing economies such as China, where meat consumption has doubled since 1990.

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