Food prices to rise faster than salaries until 2018: Fresh produce could become a rare treat for poorer families

Food prices are predicted to rise faster than incomes every year until 2018, with meat and fresh fruit and vegetables becoming only an occasional treat for some.

The cost of putting food on the table is forecast to rise by 3.8 per cent next year and still further in 2015, according to industry experts.

They also say the cost of eating out in restaurants and pubs has increased by seven per cent in the past six months.

Report from Prestige Purchasing, which supplies the restaurant trade, said lower harvests as a result of volatile weather, and high demand for meat from the growing middle classes in countries such as China and India have resulted in a ‘perfect storm’ to push up costs.

Fruit prices rose by 10.2 per cent in the past year, vegetables by 5.4 per cent, meat by 5.2 per cent and fish by 4.9 per cent.

Evidence from government studies shows that many UK households, particularly those on low incomes, have consumed less fruit, vegetables and meat since the cost-of- living squeeze began five years ago.

They have switched to less healthy, processed food, while fresh meat and produce are increasingly seen as a treat.

Prestige said the horsemeat scandal earlier this year, coupled with high costs of production and rising demand is keeping the price of beef high.

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