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Food price slowdown yet to feed into hospitality firms

23 September 2008 by

Hospitality operators are still being hit by rising food prices despite a reported slowdown in global food inflation.

Figures released by food service consultancy Horizons last week suggested that, after a growth of nearly 14% over the past 12 months, food inflation finally decelerated in August, with costs only rising by 0.8%, compared with an increase of 3.1% in July.

The slowdown was the result of a combination of factors including a good harvest for some commodities as well as the stability of the pound against the Euro, the report said. World commodity prices are also beginning to be readjusted, with price rises for fresh fish and vegetables well below the average last month.

But operators contacted by Caterersearch warned that suppliers are yet to pass on these price drops to operators. Dominic Chapman, head chef at the Royal Oak in Berkshire, said: "Food prices have gone up massively for the last year and I haven't noticed them coming to a halt."

Chapman said that the most important thing for operators to do to combat rising prices is to communicate with their suppliers. "Communication with suppliers is key in times like this and you have to work together," he said.

This was echoed by Alfred Prasad, executive chef at London's Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Tamarind, who said that in the last six months he has been speaking to suppliers more than ever before.

"By staying on the ball and making sure you're aware of prices you keep suppliers on their toes," he said. "Currently our costs are about 10% higher across the board compared with six months ago. Suppliers haven't passed on any decreases and I would imagine it will be a good few months before they do."

For more on food inflation see our Food Costs news and features page >>
Food inflation starts to slow down >>

Food cost rises continue to plague restaurant and food service operators >>

Credit crunch bites into UK eating-out market >>
Food inflation is fuelling more local sourcing >>

By Kerstin Kühn

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