As inflation continues to pound consumers all over the world, many food companies have passed on higher manufacturing and raw material costs by increasing the prices of their products – including tomato ketchup.
A study done by consumer organization Which? found that prices of food items from big manufacturers have increased by huge percentages. According to its data, the price of a 460-gram container of Heinz Tomato Ketchup spiked by 53 percent. While the product is currently priced at £2.80 ($3.31) at British supermarket chain Tesco, prices vary among retailers.
The price of another Heinz product, the Classic Cream of Chicken Soup in a 400g can, rose by 46 percent on average from £1 ($1.18) to almost £1.50 ($1.78). Meanwhile, a 470g jar of Dolmio Lasagna Sauce saw a 47 percent price increase. But one supermarket sold it at more than double the price – £1.09 ($1.29) higher than average.
A 90g pack of Batchelors Super Noodles BBQ Beef Flavor saw a 43 percent price increase, from an average of £0.59 ($0.70) to £0.82 ($0.97). The price of a box of Twinings Everyday 100 Tea Bags jumped by 17 percent on average, but one shop sold it £2.33 ($2.76) higher – a 64 percent markup compared to its 2020 price.
The price of different butter brands saw significant increases compared to their 2020 counterparts, according to the consumer group. A 500g tub of Anchor Spreadable costs £1.31 ($1.55) more, equivalent to a 45 percent increase. A 500g tub of Lurpak Spreadable Slightly Salted costs, £1.17 ($1.39) more, equivalent to a 35 percent increase.
Sue Davis, head of food policy at Which?, said the group’s research “shows the shocking rate of inflation on some of the nation’s favorite branded foods, which is much higher than the national average.” She added that the trend “highlights why it is so important for retailers to provide people with a choice of product ranges.”
A spokeswoman for Arla Foods, the manufacturer of Anchor butter, said: “[As inflation goes up], the cost of producing milk has increased to an all-time high. Our farmers are struggling to cover their costs, which is resulting in less milk being produced.”
She added that while Arla Foods is absorbing higher costs as much as possible, “the cost increases are so significant we do have to pass some of these on to ensure our farmers and our production facilities can continue the supply of products.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Kraft Heinz said the prices of its products reflected the costs of production.
“We value our consumers and are aware of the daily role Heinz products play in households across the U.K.,” he said. The spokesman for the food company added that Kraft Heinz was “committed” to offsetting higher food costs faced by households by offering larger packs of its products.
Incidentally, Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio said late last year that people must get used to higher food prices.
During an interview with the BBC, the head of the food manufacturer explained that the world’s rising population and limited arable land to grow food will continue to push food prices up. “We are raising prices, where necessary, around the world,” said Patricio, adding that these price increases have taken effect in the U.K. and the United States. (Related: Kraft Heinz CEO says people must get used to higher food prices.)
In spite of this, Patricio believes that not all cost increases should be passed on to consumers and that food manufacturers would have to absorb these.
“I think it’s up to us, the industry and other companies to try to minimize these price increases,” he commented.
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