Birds Eye and Walkers are following in the footsteps of consumer goods giant Unilever in raising their prices following a slump in the value of the pound after Brexit.
Frozen food brand Birds Eye could raise prices by as much as 12 per cent in the next month according to the Sunday Times, and pack sizes could shrink to offset increased costs with the number of fish fingers per packet falling from 12 to 10 or from 20 to 18.
Wayne Hudson, managing director of Birds Eye UK and Ireland, said “Many of our raw materials are priced in dollars and the fall in the value of the pound since the EU Referendum has meant that our costs in sterling have risen. We have been in open and collaborative conversations with the retailers for some time now to address the situation and minimise any impact on our customers. We are working hard to try and absorb these costs as much as possible.”
PepsiCo-owned Walkers is also having to raise prices by as much as 10 per cent.
A Walkers spokesperson said that while their potatoes are British, some key products like seasonings, oil and packaging are imported.
“Like most businesses, we are facing factors which impact the cost of some of our ingredients and materials including fluctuating foreign exchange rates. In light of this we are taking steps to cover some of these additional costs through selective cost price changes across our portfolio.
“Since we do not set the retail price of our products, it will be for individual retailers to determine the impact on the price at which they sell our products.”
These talks follow a battle between Marmite-owner Unilever and Tesco over a potential 10 per cent price increase of its products. Deliveries were temporarily halted as Tesco ran low on products, but the disagreement was resolved in 48 hours. Like Birds Eye and Walkers, Unilever blamed the price hike on a weak pound.
Inflation could be up to four per cent next year, analysts have warned, as sourcing costs rise.