Weetabix warns of price rises this year

Cereal company Weetabix has become the latest company to warn of price rises sparked by the lower pound.

Although the company takes its wheat from within 50 miles of its processing plants in Northampton, wheat is priced in dollars and the weaker pound means it takes more pounds to buy dollar-listed items.

The warning came as the company announced it was investing £30m in its UK manufacturing sites.

These are at Burton Latimer and Corby.

A range of companies, including Next and Easyjet, have warned of higher prices thanks to sterling’s fall since June’s vote to leave the European Union.

Last year, a row over prices between Tesco and supplier Unilever meant Marmite and a number of other well-known brands were temporarily unavailable on the supermarket giant’s website.

Last week, official figures showed the rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose to 1.6% last month, up from 1.2% in November, while higher costs for imported materials and fuels pushed up producer prices.

Giles Turrell, the chief executive of Weetabix, told the BBC price rises would be a last resort and would be in the low single digits.

Weetabix has been made in the UK since 1932. The business is widely reported to be up for sale by its Chinese owners Bright Food, which bought its 60% stake in 2012.

Many of the world’s biggest names in food processing, including the UK’s Associated British Foods, the US’s Post Holdings and Italy’s Barilla, have been named as possible suitors.

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