Bakers are facing a £50-a-ton hike in the price of flour – equivalent to 13% of the cost of the raw material – and some of that increase is certain to be passed on to customers, said the chairman of the National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB).
Prices have already gone up after a year of unsettled weather, which forced the highest levels of wheat imports for three decades.
NAMB chairman Mike Holling said: "Unfortunately, when you have the weather we have had – early in the year very dry conditions and then as the year progressed we came to the very wet weather – this really reduced the total yield of British wheat production."
He said the impact of the poor crop was now being felt in prices for the flour bakers use to produce bread, cakes, pies and savoury snacks. "We have taken a flour increase of £50 a ton, and that is roughly 13%. At the end of the day, the manufacturer can't sustain that kind of increase. As the end user, we try to pass a small amount of the percentage on to the consumer and absorb the rest, but this is very volatile."
He said he had never known a situation like it, adding: "What we are seeing at the moment, even in the supermarkets, is a 400g loaf having to go up by 5p and an 800g one can go up by 10p."