Category Archives: Food

‘Rampant profiteering’(?) as pre-Christmas food inflation remains at 9.2%

Pricey: and the problem is that the cost of food is being artificially inflated to boost the profits of producers and retailers, at a time when wages are being squeezed.

This is a little annoying; the article refers to “rampant profiteering” but doesn’t lay blame.

We may suggest it’s the supermarket chains that are profiteering – artificially inflating the price of food – because that’s where most of us buy it.

The fact is that our food costs too much – especially with pay being as brutally depressed as it has been by the Tories.

There are no solutions suggested here. What is the answer?

Official figures showed food inflation remains at a painfully high 9.2 per cent in the run-up to Christmas.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said… “Even the competition regulator now admits what Unite has said all along: that firms have been exploiting the cost-of-living crisis to raise prices excessively.

“It’s time the government and Bank of England tackled the rampant profiteering in our economy to get inflation under control.”

Source: Unions call for end of ‘rampant profiteering’ as pre-Christmas food inflation remains at 9.2% | Morning Star

Aldi boss did NOT blame the minimum wage for inflation, it seems


This is interesting: it seems the Torygraph has been feeding us falsehoods.

After yesterday’s article commenting on claims that Aldi boss Giles Hurley had said the minimum wage was to blame for high inflation, information has come to This Site stating that it is not true.

This information seems persuasive, as Aldi has the lowest prices in the UK (according to Which? magazine) and the highest hourly wages of any supermarket. It is also the only supermarket to pay colleagues for the breaks in their shift.

Why would anyone blame the minimum wage for inflation when they actually pay more than that as a matter of course, while keeping their prices lower than anybody else? That would indeed seem strange to This Writer, and as the Telegraph can only say the comments were “understood” to have come from a roundtable event at 10 Downing Street earlier this month, we have no direct source for the claim.

The Telegraph went on to state that “sources close to Aldi, which markets itself as a cheaper option for British shoppers, insisted that they related to the wider food sector rather than supermarket pay”. Again, as this is not supported with a directly-attributable comment, we have no reason to believe it to be true. I can’t see how a boss who pays more than the minimum wage to his own employees would say it was too high for others.

It seems This Writer’s own claim that a 27 per cent sales rise means an increased operating profit may also be at fault. According to the supermarket’s most recent published financial results, pre-tax profits for the year 2021 were £35.7 million – a drop of £229.1 million (86.5 per cent) on the previous year.

Aldi has attributed this to “investment in prices, people and pandemic-related expenses”.

Figures for the year 2022 are not yet available so we can’t yet see how profits were affected in that year.

So, unless anyone else can produce more convincingly-damning evidence, it seems Aldi and Mr Hurley are in the clear.

This does not, of course, change the facts about the other supermarket chains.


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Aldi boss blames minimum wage for driving up the cost of groceries

Groceries: the boss of a supermarket chain whose sales leapt up by 27 per cent between December 2021 and December 2022 reckons it’s the minimum wage that’s pushing prices up.

[UPDATE: it seems the information about Aldi and it’s boss, on which this article was based – from the Telegraph – may not have been accurate. See this article for the evidence.]

How do you like this hypocrisy?

Giles Hurley, chief executive of Aldi in the UK and Ireland… has warned Downing Street that increases in the minimum wage will drive up food prices for shoppers.

How short-sighted, too!

He’s telling people who only want to be paid enough to afford the high cost of his groceries that it is their demand that is pushing up prices!

What a lot of hogwash. The lowest-paid people in the country cannot possible be to blame for these high costs.

And what’s the reason for this outburst? Well…

The comments come as supermarket chiefs fight back against claims the high rate of inflation is being used as a cover for making larger profits.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened an investigation into supermarkets over high food and fuel prices.

Regulators want to know whether there has been a failure in competition, forcing customers to overpay.

An investigation into the fuel market by the CMA has already found evidence of increased profit margins on petrol and diesel.

This seems likely. Instead of admitting profiteering, this fatcat has chosen to offload the blame onto people who don’t have a platform to speak in their defence.

The Morning Star offers the alternative viewpoint very well:

The chief beneficiaries of food and drink price inflation are the monopoly retailers.

Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda reaped more than £4bn profits in the last financial year. They have passed on most if not all of their cost increases to customers. But they are looking after those most in need — their shareholders.

Between them, the “big three” doled out £1.4bn in dividends in 2022, the biggest increase for seven years at Sainsbury’s, topped by the 60 per cent rise — including bonanza share buybacks — at Tesco; Asda has sent £75m to its main owners, the Qatari Investment Authority and Daniel Kretinsky.

Generous remuneration packages helped chief executives avoid a visit to the local foodbank last year: unrepentant Ken Murphy [Tesco chief executive] pocketed £4.5m, while Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts struggled by on £3m.

However, Asda chair and multimillionaire Lord Stuart Rose has declared his opposition to cost-of-living wage rises this year… for striking public-sector workers.

Let’s just see what the CMA investigation says, shall we?

Source: Minimum wage rises risk driving up the cost of groceries, says Aldi boss


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The main points: it’s Vox Political’s morning headlines

DWP accused of ‘denying people their rights’ after rejecting 90% of disability benefit appeals

Food inflation: actual shop prices hit new high

Exposed: payments to LABOUR Health spokesman from private health firms

Under Keir Starmer and Wes Streeting, Labour Party policy has changed from returning the National Health Service to full public control into allowing it to be converted into even more of a front for private firms to profit from your illness.

Is the reason for this the fact that Streeting is being paid a small fortune every year by private health representatives? See for yourself:

Energy firms consulted on plan for extra profit

Energy prices are coming down at last, so what is the regulator Ofgem doing? It’s consulting the companies on a plan to increase their profit so they can be “financially resilient”.

They just made a killing (sadly, in some cases this may be said to be literal) on prices over the last year but this cash went straight to shareholders, it seems. Wouldn’t it have been better to fix dividends at a lower level and put more of that money into “financial resilience” rather than fleecing the public again?


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Brexit to blame for a third of Britain’s food price inflation

The price of Brexit: lorries waiting at Dover for the paperwork to be done.

Would you like to know why this is important?

Britain’s departure from the European Union has accounted for about a third of the increase in food bills for households since 2019, equivalent to about 250 pounds ($316), researchers from the London School of Economics and other universities said.

Although London and Brussels have an agreement allowing largely tariff-free trade in goods, barriers to exports and imports in the form of paperwork, known as non-tariff barriers, have caused delays and higher costs.

The answer is simple, if you remember:

When we were being asked to vote in the EU referendum, back in 2016, we were told again and again that Brexit would reduce paperwork, bureaucracy and red tape.

Remember?

File it as yet another Brexit lie.

Source: Brexit to blame for a third of Britain’s food bill rise, researchers say


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Price rises have slowed – but not in line with Tory targets. Because of GREED?

Shortfall: business bosses are pushing up prices in line with nothing more than their own greed, and we’re being told to meet these extra charges despite real-terms wages cuts.

Inflation has slowed from 10.1 per cent in March to 8.7 per cent in April – a tiny decrease of 1.4 per cent, suggesting that Rishi Sunak’s aim to halve inflation will not be reached for a long time.

The figure is now being driven by food price rises. These increases could be due to Brexit, and the extra costs now associated with bringing goods into the UK from Europe, and they could be due to the fact that EU workers are no longer coming to the UK to pick our own crops, meaning much of them have been left to rot instead.

(Or at least, that’s what we’ve been told.)

The other possible reason is that this is greedflation – that prices have been raised opportunistically by supermarket bosses who have enjoyed massive increases in profit as a result.

Grocery price rises stand at 19.1 per cent. They’ve slowed but that’s no consolation when it’s a climbdown from record highs.

It is clear that much of the reason for the current high inflation rate is Tory government – decisions by the Tories have artificially increased prices and, coupled with their efforts to cut workers’ pay, may be considered deliberate attempts to impoverish millions of people.

Successful attempts as well: more than 14 million of us – nearly a quarter of the population – are now struggling.

What’s to be done?

There certainly seems to be an argument for the introduction of a grocery price regulator, albeit with more teeth than those in the energy and water industries (as we’ve seen lately).

If supermarket owners are determined to push prices through the roof, isn’t it time a cap was imposed?


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Studies Show Childhood Hunger Seriously Effects Children’s Mental And Physical Development | The poor side of life

Square meals: remember when vulnerable children were going to go hungry during the school holidays because the Tory government couldn’t care less, and had to have its collective mind changed by footballer Marcus Rashford?

Ladies and gentlemen, you are not reading enough social media journalism!

I know – that’s another blanket statement. Disagree with it wildly if you like but as a population, people in the UK have been conditioned to ignore social media journalism by sites like Facebook, that restrict their readership to a tiny fraction of a site’s followers and then try to charge us money to reach even a tiny fraction of the rest.

Let’s try to fix that by promoting sites that provide valuable information that you won’t get from the Tory lackeys in the mainstream media.

In other words, here’s Charlotte Hughes:

Recent studies have shown that hunger and malnourishment can have a severe impact on a child’s mental and physical development, which can ultimately affect their academic performance and life opportunities.

An ever increasing number of children are now living in poverty as a result of the cost of living crisis, increasing energy costs, parents losing their jobs and DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) issues such as benefit sanctions.

According to the End Child Poverty coalition, 4.2 million children in the UK are living in poverty, 2.4 million of whom are living in severe poverty. Poverty is a significant driver of hunger and food insecurity, with many families struggling to afford and find healthy and nutritious food.

The effects of hunger and malnutrition on a child’s learning can be very profound. Children who experience hunger often find it difficult to concentrate and focus, affecting their memory and cognitive abilities.

This can also lead to behavioral issues, affecting their interactions with others and their overall development.

Moreover, poor nutrition can significantly affect a child’s physical development, leading to a lack of energy, poor growth, and an increased likelihood of illness.

One recent study found that children who experienced hunger were more likely to have lower academic performance and to struggle with basic literacy and numeracy. Children who eat more healthily and more varied diets also have better cognitive abilities, and in many cases have better academic outcomes.

Whilst there are interventions such as breakfast clubs and food banks that can help alleviate these problems, and it is vitally important for policymakers, schools, and charities to work together to ensure that all children have access to the resources they need to thrive… sadly at the time of writing the government is very reluctant to help at all. Instead the cost of living crisis and rising energy costs are continuing to increase plunging more children and their families further into poverty.

Is the government doing this purposely? It certainly makes me suspect this. The health and wellbeing of working class children appears to be unimportant to them.

Charlotte doesn’t offer any solutions but it is clear that only one will do: regime change.

We need a different government with better priorities – and, by the way, in This Writer’s opinion Keir Starmer’s Labour simply won’t be good enough.

If you’re not keen to do anything yourself, quite yet, then at least visit the Poor Side of Life website and subscribe to it. Then you’ll be able to keep informed.

Source: Studies Show Childhood Hunger Seriously Effects Children’s Mental And Physical Development – The poor side of life


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Sunak meeting food producers won’t stop the main cause of rising prices: GREED

Rishi Sunak: he’s full of avarice and so are the supermarket bosses.

Rishi Sunak met around 70 food industry leaders at Downing Street today (May 16) to discuss ways to bring down the cost of food. It won’t do any good.

Food inflation rate in the UK, March 2015-December 2022.

The BBC News article about the meeting featured a lot of bleeding-heart talk by the people who create the actual food, saying their operational and shipping costs have increased hugely.

It doesn’t mention the fact that supermarket chains like Tesco hugely increased their profits last year.

Tesco profits between 2015-22.

Sainsbury profits 2014-15 to 2021-22.

There is no monitoring of cost prices and selling prices of food sold in supermarkets – and profit margins keep rising. This, in turn keeps inflation high.

Meanwhile, politically-motivated pundits like Ann Widdecombe on the BBC’s Politics Live tell us that it is demands for wages to rise in line with costs that triggers high inflation. This is not true – it’s just a lie to keep you poor.

Sunak won’t do the necessary, of course. Regulation is anathema to a Conservative.

High inflation, coupled with low wages, means he can get away with a bigger lie – claiming that public services (including the NHS) are not affordable.

In a balanced economy, in which the proceeds of the economy were shared fairly between business owners, executives and employees, so that everybody was able to pay a fair share towards the public good, we could have our public services and cheap, nutritious food.

We don’t get it for a simple reason: Rishi Sunak and his government don’t want us to have it.


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Greedflation: companies are fuelling inflation by overcharging us to build profit

French protesters have stormed the Paris stock exchange: will greedflation prompt the British to do worse?

Whenever the Conservatives tell us wage increases are driving inflation, be aware that they are lying.

Inflation isn’t being driven by wage demands but by greedy companies that are using the cost-of-living crisis to drive up prices and boost their profits.

Take a look at the degree by which food prices have risen:

Claudia Webbe puts the situation – and the reason for it – in a nutshell:

Now read this:

That is what the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank seem to have discovered, according to The Guardian:

The IMF and the ECB wouldn’t put it in these terms, of course, but both support the idea that companies are gouging their customers when they can. The non-technical term for what is going on is greedflation.

Companies [are] doing rather better out of the cost of living crisis than workers… The flipside of steeply rising prices but only modestly higher wages [is] that profit margins [have] “surged”.

Unite, one of the UK’s biggest unions, published a report in March that blamed systematic profiteering across the economy for fuelling the cost of living crisis. Energy companies, supermarkets, shipping companies, car dealers and food manufacturers had all cashed in on drought, war, and strong demand after the pandemic to “push prices and profits through the roof”.

The eurozone’s central bank looked at the contribution of profits to inflation over nearly a quarter of century, and found that between 1999 and 2022, profits were responsible for one-third of the inflation rate on average. In 2022 alone, profits contributed to two-thirds of the rise.

But whereas the ECB – from its president, Christine Lagarde, downwards – is fully exercised by the threat posed by greedflation, policymakers in the UK seem far more relaxed. There have been plenty of calls for wage restraint, most notably from Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, but far fewer for price restraint… Price controls, of the sort used in the 1970s, are seen as to be avoided at all costs.

Instead, inflation is being controlled by increasing interest rates – which sucks demand from the economy and reduces pressure for wage rises by incurring job losses (meaning that, once again, too many jobseekers end up competing for too few jobs and the bosses can pay whatever they want).

But workers who have taken pay cut after pay cut for more than a decade are close to breaking point and something has to give way soon.

Will we see scenes like what has happened in France over pensions, with protesters storming bastions of capitalism like the stock exchange and trashing it? Will we see worse?

It’s a good question. The British have very long tempers and have put up with a lot – so much, in fact, that nobody knows what they might do if those tempers snap.

It seems likely that, if they do not moderate their own rhetoric and curb corporate greedflation soon, the Tories might find out.


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Inflation means continued cost-of-living hell for you; not so much for the Tories

Jeremy Hunt: he’s all right, Jack, because he has public money propping up his worthless hide. You aren’t so lucky.

Inflation figures for March 2023 have been released – and they foretell continued agony for struggling UK citizens who are trying to make ends meet in the face of Tory tomfoolery.

The baseline figure has – stubbornly, we are told, as if inflation is a sentient creature – remained above 10 per cent, falling from 10.4 in February just three-tenths of a percentage point to 10.1 per cent in March.

The reason wasn’t energy prices this time, though. No… it’s food.

The average price of food and non-alcoholic drinks has risen by a whopping 19.1 per cent in the year to March 2023 – the sharpest 12-month increase since August 1977.

This is partly because the availability of fruit, vegetables and sugar was hit by poor harvests in Europe and North Africa.

And importing those goods has become more expensive because the pound’s performance on the currency markets has been weak.

Furthermore, higher energy bills have meant increased transport costs and global supply chain disruption between March 2022 and January this year.

These energy bills, caused by the war in Ukraine, have forced producers to hike their prices.

Much of the above can be attributed to Brexit, which has added hundreds of pounds to the average UK household shopping bill due to increased transport and customs costs.

And the domestic apple-growing industry has suffered due to a lack of workers from the Continent, high energy costs, and low cash returns from supermarkets that buy the produce.

And prices are unlikely to fall:

Martin Deboo, consumer goods analyst at Jefferies, warned that the high prices are unlikely to fall, following the sharpest 12-month increase since August 1977.

He said: “Absolute pricing rarely falls very much.

“We expect consumers to be paying permanently more for products in 2023 onwards than they did in 2021.

This is particularly bad news for those of us on lower incomes, who are already struggling to make ends meet.

The Bank of England may decide that another interest rate increase is necessary, in which case many people with mortgages may be in danger of losing their homes.

In the midst of this, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has stepped in to claim – improbably – that “we can get through this”:

This Writer wonders who the “we” might be who can “get through this”. Is it just high-waged Tories?

I think Hunt’s words are a sop for people who are about to lose much of what they have spent their lives building – due to the ignorance and stupidity of the Conservative government in which he is a senior figure.

He just wants to keep us all tranquillised and quiet so we don’t end up protesting French-style.

But if anybody has an excuse to set their country on fire, it’s us.

The super-selfish Tories, with their Brexit and their privatisations, have deliberately harmed our quality of life. Saying “we can get through this” is no consolation at all.


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