Walkers and Birds Eye have become the latest food companies to push for increases in prices – blaming the fall in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote.
Walkers crisps has defended its decision to hike the prices of some of its products and dismissed allegations it used Brexit as an excuse.
The snack giant said it was making ‘selective cost price changes across our portfolio’, including raising the price of standard and grab bag products, as part of ongoing reviews of its price and promotion schemes.
But a statement from the company said “fluctuating foreign exchange rates” were among the factors that sparked the most recent price revision.
A Walkers spokesperson confirmed the 32g standard bag would increase from 50p to 55p, while the larger grab bag would go from 75p to 80p.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
Responding to accusations the company had used Brexit as an excuse to hike prices, they said while the company used British potatoes, other ingredients including seasoning, frying oil and packaging materials were imported.
A Walkers spokesperson said: “Whilst our potatoes are British, we import a number of different ingredients and materials to produce a finished packet of Walkers crisps such as seasonings, oil for frying and key raw materials used in our packaging film.
“Fluctuating foreign exchange rates, supply pressure on key ingredients and the weakened value of the pound are impacting the import cost of some of our materials and affecting the price of material costs based on commodities that are traded in foreign currencies.”
It came after the company copped criticism on social media for the price changes, with some Twitter users vowing to boycott the brand when news of the increases broke.
Birds Eye, which is owned by New York-listed Nomad Foods, has also said it wanted to increase some of its prices by as much as 12 per cent.
The company said its products were priced in dollars, so the fall in the value of the pound meant its costs in sterling had risen.
Wayne Hudson, Birds Eye’s UK and Ireland managing director, said: “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.”
Birds Eye is said to be also looking at other ways to offset the increase in costs, for example cutting the number of fish fingers in each packet.