G Butler

Food Prices

Just like this loaf of bread - W.A's food prices are rising fast - if you thought the cost of the basics at the checkout were growing faster than you can say inflation - you're right.

We're seeing a lot of increases especially in manufactured product from off the land and a lot of that has been due to the drought a lack of supply of product also the fact that farmers weren't producing as much as they were before

John Cummings from W.A's independent grocers association says a lot of the price rises are the result of neglecting our primary producers - our farmers

It's a national trend and in a lot of cases it's a world wide trend where farmers have basically been price takers for a number of years in australia and they're now saying we just can't do it any further.

A quick check of prices over the past two years reveals an alarming pattern - that's tipped to get worse

According the australian bureau of statistis between December 2005 and December just gone -

- Bacon has risen 5%

- Milk 11.2%

- Cheese 11.4%

- Sausanges - 19%

- Bread - 21%

and Butter - a whopping 35% increase -

But according according to producers that's just the tip of the iceberg -

Just last week on the international flour market it hit a 40 year high so i can expect flour prices just to go up again

David Waterman's Pizza Shop Pizazz is starting to lose it's sparkle under the strain of huge price increases from suppliers -

David give me some examples of how much these ingredients have gone up for a pizza we look at the hawaiin which is the most popular of the pizza's in australia cheese has goneyo 85% ham 37% and 27% for pineapplel and then the flour for the base has gone up and this is over how long? oh less than a year probably the past 6 months the main increases have been

According to David's records the cost of just about every ingredient in his Pizzas has soared over the past year or so -

Pepperoni has jumped - 19.4%

Prawns up 18.5%

Pineapple - 27%

Bacon up - 26.5%

And Chicken has Soared - 61.1%

Working for nothing that's virtually what you're doing now you're working to pay the bills consumers can't accept anymore prices rises so we just have to absord what we can

It's a story being repeated in business's across the state - Kingsley Sullivan run's the New Norcia Bakery.

Well our prices are going up to compensate increase the imputs and we've seen prices of bread raise by 15% since November last year just on the price of wheat alone

The price of wheat is set internationally and has soared in the past year - part of the reason is the growing use of Grain for the production of Bio Fuel in the United States - Mike Norton from the Farmers Federation

All of a sudden the change is made by the Bush government on Bio Fuels the worls supplies of grain which run at around 150 days as resere all of a sudden shrank to 57 days and all of a sudden the price of grain went from $200 a tonne virtually to $400 a tonne

There's only so much grain made throughout the world and when that's affected by drought as we've seen here in australia in tehlast couple of years but it is an international commodity price the americans in particular are taking a lot out of the food chain for production on bio fuels and i can only see that increasing and the price will just keep moving

But it's not only the cost of Wheat that's skyrocketing - Dairy products... milk and butter are going up and up.... those in the dairy industry warned us years ago this was going to happen

To fix the problems that are currently affecting consumers you need to go right out to farmgate and praps even beyond

We certainly warned politicians when they started to fiddle with teh legislation that underpinned the economic viability of the dairy industry that there may well be problems but unfortunately it's taken six years for that to flow through to the consumer

The price increases across the board are of such a concern the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or A triple C - has launched and investigation into Australian Grocery Prices...

I think the ACCC inquiry appears on the surface to be heading in the right direction and i think most people are pleased the government is moving in the direction of finding what is happening in the grocery and supermarket sector in Australia

Former W.A senator Dee Margettes has made a submission to the inquiry, though she fears the investigation doesn't go back far enough and because it's not conducted in private many people will be afraid to speak up.

Anybody who knows anything about market power and potential market power abuse within the corporate supermarket sector will know that you're not going to be able to get suppliers and manufacturers providing the real kinds of information about what's been happening in australia's supermarket industry without providing absolute confidentiality protection

If there's a problem in the supply chain if that problem is caused by the major chains having too much of a market share well the government needs to do something about that and hopefully that's what the ACCC are going to address

What effect if any the inquiry will have on the cost of your shopping remains to be seen - but for some it's about time the questions were asked

There's very serious questions about what has happened to the supply and manufacturing sector of supermarkets in australia

What we need is a few rules as to where the profit is and whose making the money along the supply delivery chain

The people i feel sorry for are the people who are on a fixed invome like pensioners they must be really really hurting going throught the supermarkets a the moment