At a webinar on 12 May, Executive Chair of British Apples and Pears (BAPL), Ali Capper, warned that growers are unusually worried about the effects of inflation on their businesses and the new season, which will officially start on 3 October this year.
As well as a new minimum wage rate of £10.10 for seasonal workers, which represents a 13.4 per cent increase, growers are facing increased National Insurance contributions, meaning that farm labour costs have increased by two-thirds over the last ten years. Based on these and other increased costs, such as fertiliser and fuel, a bag of apples which cost 85 pence last year should increase to £1 this year.
However, while most retailers were praised for stocking British apples there is strong competition on the high street to keep food prices low, and BAPL says that Marks & Spencer, Asda and Tesco could all ‘do better’ in supporting home-grown top fruit.
According to FreshPlaza, ‘When the question: ‘Is it a good time to be asking retailers to increase prices’ was asked, Ali replied saying that it is exactly the right time to talk about price increases. While promoting the storability of apples, consumers will not be wasting money when buying apples compared to other snacks. It was also said that retailers had to accept that price increases were out of the grower’s control and that ultimately retailers were going to have to absorb these increases and decide how much they were going to pass on to the consumer.’