Miguel Patricio said the international food giant, which makes tomato sauce and baked beans, is putting up prices in several countries due to limited volumes of stock
The boss of global manufacturer Heinz says families should get used to higher food prices amid a supply chain crisis that is limiting volumes of stock around the world.
Miguel Patricio admitted the brand is “raising the prices” of products including ketchup and baked beans due to a global import issues.
It comes as figures released on Monday show one third of lorries in the UK are currently stationary due to a lack of HGV drivers.
Patricio said that consumers will have to get used to spending more for food due to the world’s rising population, and a lack of land to grow produce on.
But he urged firms to take on spiralling costs. Speaking to the BBC, he said: “I think it’s up to us and to the industry and to the other companies to try to minimise these price increases.”
When asked to explain why the rises were occurring, Patricio said: “Specifically in the UK, [it is due to] the lack of truck drivers.
“In (the) US, logistic costs also increased substantially, and there’s a shortage of labour in certain areas of the economy.”
He said high inflation “across the board” unlike in previous years, is worsening the problem. In the UK, inflation – the cost of living – rose 3.2% in August, with warnings it could spiral to 4% by Christmas.
Kona Haque, head of research at the agricultural commodities firm ED&F Man, told the broadcaster: “Whether it’s corn, sugar, coffee, soybeans, palm oil, you name it, all of these basic food commodities have been rising.”
She said major food producers like Kraft Heinz, Nestle and PepsiCo “will most likely have to pass that cost on to consumers”.
It comes amid warnings the supply chain crisis could run past Christmas.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Lidl are just some of the stores that have responded to complaints from customers over empty shelves.
Milk, bread and even Christmas trees are facing short supply as supermarkets warn they are behind on the amount of stock they would normally have in warehouses.
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Various industries which supply supermarkets are also being hampered by a gas shortage , with carbon dioxide (CO2) vital in the production of meat and fizzy drinks.
According to the Office for National Statistics, one in six people has been unable to buy essential food items in the past fortnight due to panic-buyers.
A survey by The Grocer found that a third of people had started stocking up on Christmas food and drink or were planning to by the end of October.
Two-thirds of Brits said they were concerned about the shortages over the festive period.
Andrew Large, director-general at the Confederation of Paper Industries, said its members are being “affected very, very severely” by cost increases — and called for an energy price cap for firms to help see them through the winter.
He said: “They’re seeing their costs go up through the roof. It’s damaging their profitability and in some cases, it’s causing them to manage their production rates so as not to expose themselves to the very, very highest costs.”
It comes as Boris Johnson conceded the country’s delivery crisis could last months.
Last Sunday the PM warned the shortages “are very real” and that “we’re seeing real disruptions in supply chains in different sectors”.
Ministers have stepped up their drive to beat the trucker shortage by creating an extra 2,000 fast-track driver courses.
Under desperate measures to get staff, people are being offered up to £78,000 to get behind the wheel of a lorry.
Over 55,000 domestic drivers left the industry during the last 18 months, reported the Grocer.
Retirement, a lack of driving tests during Covid, and tax changes have all been cited as the cause – as well as many returning to Europe post-Brexit.
Nearly a million letters have been sent out asking HGV licence-holders urging them to return to the UK to work.
But higher wages and inflation means for many, any pay rises will quickly be eroded.
The price of unleaded petrol rose by 23p a litre to £1.36 last week, adding £11.40 to the cost of a full tank for a family car.
It means a typical motorist clocking up the average distance will pay an extra £191 to fill up over the next year, according to analysis by Labour.