Inflation is just an “excuse” used by supermarket chains for “price gouging”, a TD has claimed.
Food inflation in Ireland surged to 16% between November and January and the Government is due to meet retail bosses to discuss the issue today.
The cost of food production and transportation has surged since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine - but Sligo-Leitrim TD Marian Harkins believes the profit motive is the primary cause of the high prices.
“Just look to what the ECB said recently, they said corporate profiteering contributed twice as much to price rises and wage increase,” she told The Pat Kenny Show.
“They did say that price gouging was contributing to price rises because they said that some firms at least are using inflation as an excuse to increase their profit margins.
“So, that’s one part of the jigsaw.
“I mean, today the Minister is meeting the retail forum; to be fair to him, he has brought forward this meeting but this is a consultative body and, I said, turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.”
The Irish Farmers’ Union has warned that production costs are still high and Deputy Harkin said profit margins can be tight.
“If you look, for example, at what farmers were being paid for milk, the top end of it last summer was around 70 cents,” she said.
“Now most farmers were a bit below that but I believe today Lakelands are offering 37 cents per litre for milk and [some farmers] their most recent cost of production is 36 cent per litre.
“So, that tells you the profit margin that farmers are making.”
The Government has briefed it will tell retailers there will need to be a “demonstrable reduction” in prices by the time of their next meeting scheduled for June 21st.
Main image: Crate filled with mixed fruit and veg. Image: Hayley Blackledge / Alamy Stock Photo