Expert says bread costs ‘inevitable’ rise as industry suffers ‘triple’ hit

A leading member of the Irish baking industry said it was “inevitable” that bread prices would rise as a result of the war in Ukraine.

his week Irish independence reported that consumers can expect bread prices to rise significantly within the next two weeks, as soaring fuel and flour prices put unprecedented cost pressures on bakers.

Ukraine is known as the “cradle” of the planet, with wheat production mainly concentrated in the eastern part of the country, where fighting is raging and infrastructure is being destroyed.

There is no large-scale flour production in Ireland anymore, with imports coming from the UK, mainland Europe and the US and since the war in Ukraine started prices have increased by at least 40pc more.

Wheat would have to be sown around now for the late summer crop, but the war made any kind of normal farming or other commercial activity nearly impossible.

Before the invasion of Ukraine, the price of fine wheat used to make baking powder had increased by about 20pc in a year.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne Irish Bakery Association President and Baking Expert at Odlums Tony Kane said the industry was “fighting for survival”.

“The trio of flour and ingredients, along with fuel, freight and packaging, and of course the absence of staff,” he said.

“It’s all about to turn into a tsunami because of the rise in the prices of flour and bread in the Irish market… It’s total turmoil.”

Asked if Irish farmers could turn to wheat and cereal production to meet demand, Mr Kane said Irish wheat was “not suitable” for making “regular bread”.

“There’s something we can do if we all try, but it just doesn’t really fit.

“Our 90pc of flour is imported from mainland Europe and that is under pressure now.”

Mr Kane is a fourth-generation baker and he said the government should look at subsidizing bread, like those introduced in the 1960s and 1970s.

He added that urgent action was also needed to allow bakers from other countries to work in Ireland.

“We couldn’t find a baker. Bakers are currently off the list of occupations approved for work permits.

“We need immediate action on that to allow bakers from Ukraine to be allowed to work here.” Expert says bread costs ‘inevitable’ rise as industry suffers ‘triple’ hit

Fry Electronics Team

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