Madrid (EFE), a situation that repeats itself every month, which has multiple causes and an uncertain future.

The data speaks volumes: food and non-alcoholic beverages became 13.8% more expensive in August compared to the same month in 2021, the highest rate since January 1994, and 0.5% compared to July 2022, with exceptional increases in milk, cheese and eggs. , meat, bread and cereals.

The increase in production costs (electricity, water, cereals and diesel), the scarcity of certain raw materials due to the climate, in particular drought, and international market imbalances, due to the war in Ukraine, some of the reasons for which food prices rise further.

Food prices at a greengrocer
A greengrocer in a file image. EFE/Victor Lerena

The retail commercial director of the consulting firm IRI, Antonio Khalaf, points out to Efeagro that it is impossible to calculate how long this gradual increase linked to the cost of energy and the scarcity of raw materials, fundamentally due to the war, can last.

“As long as energy costs continue to rise, companies will pass it on,” he says. There are therefore alternatives to take action to lower this cost or play with tax rates.

The agro-food sector is very large and each sub-sector, including the most inflationary, shares this situation, but in turn has its own casuistry.

We analyze the foods whose price increases the most

Milk

In annual terms, milk leads the largest increase, of 25.6%, a percentage which -however- is lower than the 38% increase in the price paid for milk originally at the farmer the previous month, in July, explains to Efeagro the director general of the National Federation of Dairy Industries (Fenil), Luis Calabozo.

“The cost of the basic raw material milk to produce dairy products has increased further and this, with some delay, is unsustainable if it is not passed on to the consumer,” Calabozo pointed out. .

With rising production costs that began in 2021, primary production began to suffer and was slow to cover costs, so in many cases farmers had to kill older cows because the market for the meat was more profitable and this lack of production – also recorded worldwide – further increased prices.

oil

The head of the Olive Oil Interprofessional, Teresa Pérez, explains that olive oil has become more expensive by 13.2% in the last twelve months, due to packaging and fuel prices. in delivery.

Food prices in a store
Shelves with oil bottles in a supermarket. EFE / Victor Casado

In any case, this rise in oil was predictable after the “abnormally low” prices of two campaigns ago, according to Pérez.

It increased by 13.2%, and the effect of the increase in production costs on raw materials has not yet been appreciated, as is expected from the marketing of the oil produced in the next campaign. , starting at October.

Eggs

The continuous increase in raw materials for animal feed, up to 78%, the higher cost of energy, transport, packaging and, in general, of all the inputs used in the production and marketing of eggs, have led to an increase in the price of eggs, recalls the employers’ association Inprovo.

In addition, the sector is immersed in a process of transition to cageless systems, mainly from a conditioned cage to a floor system, which implies an increase of 18 to 20% in production costs.

In addition, there was a drop in egg imports into the EU (Ukraine accounted for 50% of the total) and an increase in exports which, combined with the effects of avian flu, which affected many laying hens , led to a reduction in supply, and therefore tensions on the market.

The cereals

In reaction to the rise in the CPI for “cereals and derivatives” (+21.7%), the general secretary of the employers’ association of grain and oilseed traders Accoe, José Manuel Álvarez, justified this rise by the rise raw materials, due to factors such as the reduction in supply due to the weather, the war in Ukraine or the cereal deficit in Spain, a net importer of wheat and barley.

The boss of the employers’ association Accoe underlined the “uncertainty” on the evolution of the market, even if the international estimates predict a drop in harvests.

The chicken

Poultry is the meat that has become the most expensive in annual terms (+17.6%), driven by the high costs of raw materials and energy borne by producers, said the secretary general of the Interprofessional Association Spanish Poultry Meat (Avianza), Jordi Montfort .

This increase in the selling price “is insufficient to cover the production costs”, regrets the representative of this interprofession.

Going forward, he forecasts a complicated winter where food prices will rise further and where the problem of gas and electricity will persist and warns of the risk “that there will be a shortage of product if the costs continue not to not be covered”.

Web editor: Rocio Casas

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