Ukraine Grain & Rising Inflation

/ 4 min read
Ukraine Grain & Rising Inflation

The cost of living in the UK has soared throughout 2022, with calamity after calamity squeezing global infrastructure. From groceries to energy bills, people of all walks of life are feeling the pinch.

The reasons behind these increases have been widespread. Covid-19, Brexit, uncertainty in UK parliament, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict have combined to create one of the most volatile economic environments we have experienced since the 2007 recession.

Many companies are working hard to keep the cost of products to consumers down, like our EDGE Subscription service which allows vapers to enjoy their regular vaping products like e-liquids and pods without worrying about the knock-on effect the expense may have on their other outgoings. We have also seen energy prices capped, and relief from the government put in place, but for many this has done little to relieve the pressure elsewhere.

Woman looking at paperwork

Ukraine and Food Inflation

Food inflation is being felt at all levels, from suppliers to consumers. Increased cost of fuel, wages and ingredients have given many companies little option but to increase their retail prices. Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said: “Prices were pushed up because of the significant input cost pressures faced by retailers due to rising commodity and energy prices and a tight labour market.”

In a landmark example of the sate of affairs, even retail giant Tesco have increased their meal deal price for the first time in years. Boots have followed suit, and even McDonalds have increased their famous 99p cheeseburger to £1.19 – the first change to this item’s pricing in 14 years.

The BRC has announced that as of September this year (2022), food inflation had reached 10.6%. Now only one month on in October/November, we are seeing this reach an all-time-high of 11.6%. This increase has affected even basic items like sugar, tea bags, and milk.

While food inflation has been driven by multiple factors, one of the most publicly discussed is the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war which has prevented regular exports. The Ukraine is the worlds 7th largest exporter of grain, and provides a massive chunk of the EU and UK food resource. The likes of milk and eggs have increased directly because of this too, owing to a sudden bottleneck in grain supply preventing producers from feeding animals like dairy cows and hens in a cost-effective way.

With Russia now reversing its decision to leave the UN grain corridor, in what has been described as a “humiliating U-turn”, we may begin to see prices decrease slightly here in the UK, however with other costs still on the rise, the impact could be minimal.

Ukraine and Russian Flag

The Guardian reports:

“Russia’s withdrawal had reignited fears over global hunger and high food prices that had been alleviated by the inauguration of the scheme earlier this year, which allowed cargo ships to move Ukrainian gain without fear of being targeted.”

Making Sacrifices This Christmas

We have already seen a big shift in consumer behaviour since prices have crept up. Many shoppers have reported shifting from mainstay supermarkets to more budget-friendly options. This has been most recently evidenced with Aldi’s rise to replace Morrisons as the UK’s 4th biggest supermarket chain – the first time we have seen a shift in the nation’s ‘big 4’ for decades.

In a survey conducted by SurveyGoo and commissioned by Ingredient Communications, a quarter (24.9%) of respondents said that they had stopped buying a food or beverage product in the previous three months due to an increase in price. This percentage is significantly higher than the survey results from 10 months previously, where 17.6 percent of shoppers claimed to omit purchases due to steep costs.

Shopping basket

Many headlines have reminded us of the stark reality that many homes will be deciding between heating and eating throughout winter this year. The evidence above already paints a worrying picture of families going without their usual items just so they can afford the bare minimum. The survey found that 48.4 percent of respondents had purchased products less often. A total of 50.9 percent claimed that they had bought less of a product, with 57.8 percent admitted to switching to a cheaper brand.

Its not all doom and gloom for retailers however, as people might be spending less, but in 35.6% of cases they are switching to a store’s own-label version of a product, rather than paying the premium for big brands. This at least means stores will continue to see revenue that will keep the economy ticking over.

Managing Director of Ingredient Communications, Richard Clarke warns:

“With winter on the way in the western hemisphere, and no sign of Russia backing down, demand for energy will spike and it’s hard to see any short-term easing of the inflationary pressures that food companies and consumers are facing,”

Follow the Story with EDGE

We care about our customers and want to do everything we can to help ease the burdens we are all facing in the current economic climate. This means we will continue to report on the latest news that impacts real people, which you can follow in our EDGE Hub.

If you are worried about cost increases effecting your nicotine supply, then rest assured that our EDGE prices will not be increasing. You can also make use of our referral scheme and subscription service to enjoy vaping in the most cost-effective way, with the added benefit of total flexibility.

Our Sources: 

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/nov/02/russia-will-rejoin-un-grain-corridor-from-ukraine-in-humiliating-u-turn  
  2. https://www.dw.com/en/five-facts-on-grain-and-the-war-in-ukraine/a-62601467  
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/nov/02/uk-food-prices-soar-by-fastest-rate-on-record-as-cost-of-living-crisis-bites  
  4. https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/news/169554/uk-food-inflation-continues-to-break-records 
  5. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-61759692 
  6. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-63346320