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ABF Chief Warns of Potential Food Price Hikes Due to Small UK Harvests and Import Dependence

Associated British Foods (ABF), the UK's largest bread maker and owner of brands like Kingsmill and Ryvita, has issued a warning of potential price rises due to expected small grain harvests in the UK.
The company, which also owns Twinings tea, Dorset Cereals, and Primark, has not increased food prices in the past six months following inflation last year.

However, George Weston, ABF's head, noted that the upcoming UK cereal harvest in July and August may be very small, making the company more reliant on imports, which will come at a cost.

The text discusses the potential impact of poor harvest conditions in the UK on grain prices, specifically wheat.

The speaker, Weston, notes that larger harvests in other parts of the world could offset these costs but this is not yet certain.

He also mentions that input costs for farmers may rise more than anticipated.

The article also mentions the challenges farmers in the UK are facing due to heavy rainfall, which has prevented planting of crops like potatoes, wheat, and vegetables during the key spring season.

Additionally, some already planted crops, such as oilseed rape, are of poor quality or have rotted in the ground.

The text concludes with a warning from MPs about a potential crisis in the cooking oil market.

The production of oilseed rape in the UK has dropped significantly, leading to an expected rise in prices for vegetable oil and other related supplies.

This decline comes as a result of poor harvests in southern Europe and the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has affected sunflower crop production.

Robert Goodwill, chair of the environment, food and rural affairs select committee, has warned of a potential "perfect storm" in the oilseed rape market, with some predicting that production could disappear entirely from UK fields.
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