Iceland Chief Issues Grim Forecast For Food Shoppers In The Coming Months

"It's the households with kids who are most at risk," Richard Walker warned.
Iceland boss Richard Walker explains why current food prices are only going to worsen
Iceland boss Richard Walker explains why current food prices are only going to worsen
BBC Radio 4 Today programme

The CEO of Iceland has warned food shoppers that groceries are only going to get more expensive in the upcoming months.

The supermarket’s managing director Richard Walker was speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme when he explained why the products in his stores will just keep climbing in price.

Speaking on Wednesday, he said: “I’ve got cost prices, currently on the table, from big branded suppliers, that we haven’t stomached yet as a business, let alone have to pass onto our customers.

“So I think it will get worse. Coming into winter, we’ve got heating, we’ve got fuel, and we’ve got food inflation – food insecurity is inevitably on the rise.

″It’s the households with kids who are most at risk.”

He said despite his company’s best efforts to keep the price of every day items down, there are plenty of external factors – including the war in Ukraine, fuel and labour shortages.

He acknowledged that his 500 million customers a week depend on these low prices.

Walker agreed that he might have to protect the price of essentials such as milk and bread, while getting the other items to go up in price so that the chain can keep its head above water.

When this happens to an essential product customers are reliant on, such as milk, it’s known as a “lost leader”.

But Walker added: “I think we’ve got a responsibility, I think our competitors do as well.”

It comes as latest food inflation stats suggest the cost of a cup of tea is rising significantly, according to the British Retail Consortium.

The cost for tea bags, milk and sugar have all soared after food inflation jumped from 10.6% to 11.6% last month.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Even the price of basic items went up, with the price of the humble cuppa rising, as tea bags, milk and sugar all saw significant rises.

“With Christmas fast approaching, customers are looking for any sign of respite, but it is increasingly difficult for retailers to shoulder the ongoing supply chain pressures.”

And, as the former chief executive of Asda supermarkets Andy Clarke, told the Today programme, customers were already buying less due to increased costs.

“It’s going to be a tough winter and food inflation is clearly just adding to the burden of families.”


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