Food prices up by twice rate of inflation

Food prices across Europe have risen by twice the rate of inflation in a year, new figures reveal today.

Between April 2007 and April this year overall inflation reached 3.6% – but food prices went up by 7.1%.

The price increase for milk, cheese and eggs was 14.9% in the European Union - 15.7% in the UK. Bread and cereals prices rose by 10.7% in the EU and meat by 4.1%, compared with 8.5% and 4.1% in the UK.

The figures were published on the eve of a United Nations food aid summit in Rome, Italy, and as EU ministers began talks on what action, if any, they could take to ease the impact of soaring food costs.

The issue is now on the agenda at an EU summit in Brussels later this month.

Meanwhile today’s figures show the highest national food price increase in the EU in the last year was in Bulgaria (25.4%) and the lowest rise was just 3.2% - below the rate of general inflation – in Portugal. The average food price rise in the UK in the year to April 2008 was 7.2%.

A year ago, the EU’s statistical office Eurostat recorded the annual price increase of milk cheese and eggs in Europe at just 1.5%, with an actual reduction in the price of oils and fats of 3%.

This year’s figures show a 14.9% increase in milk, cheese and eggs, and a 13.2% rise in the cost of oils and fats.

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