Unlike previous years when inflation was high and animal feed and fertiliser prices were also high, lower costs this year would allow pub food buyers to drive a harder bargain with their suppliers, according to Lynx Purchasing.
“The temptation is to agree the prices being quoted by wholesalers and suppliers in order to secure supplies of core festive menu items,” said Lynx managing director John Pinder.
‘Tend to hold back’
“Understandably, suppliers tend to hold back some of the savings they make when margins are good in order to balance the bad times.”
It was important that operators “held their nerve” on prices this year, he added. Farmers and producers were likely to be making more this year as a result of the favourable trading conditions and operators should cash in too.
“Understandably, suppliers tend to hold back some of the savings they make when margins are good in order to balance the bad times,” Pinder said. “Nobody begrudges farmers and food producers the chance to make a little more in the current market, but it’s important to remember that operators also take a margin hit when costs are high,”
As the market was favourable for producers, processors and operators, it was only fair each sector benefitted, he added.
While some produce prices had come down others, such as beef, were rising fast as a result of increased global demand and other factors, claimed Pinder.
“Global demand continues to grow, while UK retailers keen to secure available supplies are often willing to subsidise the price paid by their customers,” he added.
“The catering sector should expect the price of beef to continue to rise and look at better value options such as pork and lamb, as well as fresh fish.”
Lynx’s good value Christmas menu options:
- Turkey: The cost of producing a 5.5kg turkey had fallen by about 4% this year, Lynx claimed. This was as a result of lower feed costs following high stocks of wheat and soya, as well as lower fuel costs.
- Pork: All pork cuts represented a great option for autumn and winter, with prices flat and a healthy supply expected in the future. Seasonal dishes such as spiced ham and gammon would be very cost-effective options on Christmas menus.
- Salmon: Salmon prices will remain stable through the rest of the year due to plentiful supply as the Russian embargo on European produce continues, making smoked salmon an excellent option for both sit-down menus and buffets.
Christmas menu inspiration for diners avoiding gluten can be found in the Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s exclusive ‘Dreaming of a gluten-free Christmas?’ feature.