Cost of bread to climb significantly in the weeks ahead

Higher costs of wheat on international markets and soaring energy prices will drive up prices

The cost of bread on Irish supermarket shelves will climb significantly in the weeks ahead although supplies are unlikely to be impacted by the war in Ukraine according to the National Association of British and Irish Flour Millers.

The higher cost of wheat on international markets as well as soaring energy prices have been driving prices higher in recent months with a sharp acceleration in increases recorded in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However Alex Waugh of the umbrella group which represents the flour industry in Ireland and the UK said the supply lines were solid.

Ireland imports virtually all of its flour, mainly from Britain. None of it comes from either Ukraine or Russia where almost one third of the world's wheat is grown.

“This has already been quite an expensive year as far as wheat is concerned and we saw costs increase by around 20 per cent last autumn with prices gradually creeping up after that.,” Mr Waugh said.

When Russia invaded Ukraine there was another sharp jump in wholesale wheat prices.

“They went up by around 35 per cent,” he added.

He said he could not say with certainty how much the cost of bread would climb by in Ireland as a result of the increases in the price of wheat on international markets although he warned that was not the only factor that would have upward pressure.

“Energy prices have gone up dramatically and bread typically goes though big gas burning ovens,” Mr Waugh continued.

“Then you have the higher cost of delivery as a result of fuel price increases so we will see prices climbing steadily.

He stressed however that the market here was not going to run out of wheat.

“We are not looking at wheat shortages, we are looking at a price impact.”