UK Food Price Inflation Could Hit 10% This Year

Food price inflation in Britain could hit 10% this year, the chairman of upmarket retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L), said on Tuesday.

"It wouldn't be surprising to see food price inflation over the course of the year running towards 8-10%," Archie Norman told BBC radio.

"But we don't know that yet because it runs through the year, some has gone through now but quite a lot's still to come," he said.

British grocery inflation hit 5.9% in April, its highest level since December 2011, according to market researcher Kantar. 

On Monday, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said rising food prices, which have been pushed up by the conflict in Ukraine, were a major worry, not just for Britain but for developing economies too.

"Sorry for being apocalyptic for a moment, but that is a major concern," he said.

Norman said that was not a phrase he would use.

"I think you have to keep it in context, wages have been rising quite well in the UK, we've given all our people (an) over 5% wage increase this year," he said.

"So it's very negative for consumer discretionary income but I wouldn't use the word apocalyptic, certainly not for our customers."

Britain's consumer price inflation rate hit 7.0% in March and economists polled by Reuters expect it will leap to 9.1%, its highest since 1982, when April's data is published on Wednesday.