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Menu ‘rethink' needed to combat food inflation

06 March 2017 by
Menu ‘rethink' needed to combat food inflation

Foodservice operators will need to rethink many core items on their menus if they want to protect their business from rising inflation and other costs.

That's the warning from buying specialist Lynx Purchasing which showed a 9% increase on a basket of goods routinely bought by hospitality and catering operators between March 2016 and March 2017.

In addition to inflation, businesses are grappling with rising business rates and the latest Living Wage increase.

Following the publication of the spring 2017 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast, the company said operators would need to make a menu "spring clean".

"We're urging operators to give their menus a thorough ‘spring clean' in order to identify dishes where they can build in a defence against the impact of rising costs," said Rachel Dobson, managing director of Lynx Purchasing.

"For example, the widely-reported problems with salmon supplies, which are expected to mean volatile prices and smaller fillets until the autumn, favours operators who can keep their offer flexible in terms of the fish species they use, using specials boards to highlight the best fish, both the British catch and imported varieties.

"With British meat in higher demand, driven in part by the rising cost of imports, switching between different cuts according to availability will help to maintain margin on for key dishes such as a Sunday roast. There are also opportunities to reinvent traditional slow-cooked dishes, making use of less popular cuts, while still engaging customers with updated recipes and upmarket presentation."

Wet weather and low temperatures in southern Europe have interrupted supplies of salad items, making UK brassicas and root vegetables better value, while reliance on global dairy products following an exit from the market by many UK farmers has also pushed prices in that category higher.

And wine suppliers have already raised their prices or are planning increases when supply agreements come up for renewal. Operators will need to factor in an increase of around 10% in wine prices, Lynx said.

Rising business rates the biggest worry for restaurant and bar bosses >>

Foodservice prices rise due to low supply and rising costs >>

Hotel, restaurant and bar spending rises in January >>

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