By Max Clarke

Food prices continue to rise, with no apparent end in sight.

This is the latest forecast from the British Retail Consortium, which confirms the message conveyed by Oxfam last month, and by the World Bank.

Soaring oil prices, droughts in producer countries and increased demand are all affecting the prices.

"Recent volatility in the cost of key commodities, linked to dry weather and global demand, is now working through to the shop price of some food,” said BRC Director General, Stephen Robertson.

"Wheat is up 72 per cent and oil 50 per cent on a year ago while rising gas and electricity prices are pushing up costs at every stage of the supply chain,” continued Robertson.

In the UK, food and energy price rises are eroding household’s disposable incomes and further damaging consumer confidence. For the developing world, however, unchecked food price rises risk plunging millions into extreme poverty, threatening global security.

Mike Watkins, Senior Manager at Retailer Services provider, Nielsen, has also commented on the BRC’s findings: "Food prices have increased slightly this month but this is due to seasonal or weather related fresh foods rather than ambient foods. However, inflation and other rising household bills are still top of mind for shoppers so retailers are offering more promotions and deeper price cuts. This continues to be an important driver of sales for retailers and a coping strategy for shoppers but should not be seen as the long term answer to any weakening of consumer demand or falls in consumer confidence."

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