Economics bulletin 8 April

Date : 08 April 2022

Your overview of economic and policy news with a focus on the food and consumer goods industry, featuring the latest developments and guidance on HFSS guidance, labour shortages and the National Insurance rise.

Shopper confidence hits new record low

IGD’s Shopper Confidence Index declined from -18 in February to -23 in March, another record low. Confidence has fallen across all regions, particularly in London and among all groups of shoppers. 50% of shoppers now expect food prices to be much more expensive this year, up from the long-term average of under 20%.

ShopperVista subscribers can access the full report here.

Hear more about how shoppers will cope with rising inflation in our Viewpoint webinar on 27 April.

National Insurance rise

The 1.25p in pound rise in National Insurance Contributions (NICs) took effect from 6 April, increasing the tax burden on both employees and employers

As set out in the Spring Statement, the threshold at which employee NICs will be paid will increase in line with the income tax thresholds from July 2022.

Labour shortages impacting food prices

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has warned about the seriousness of labour shortages facing the food and farming sectors due to the combined impacts of COVID-19 and EU Exit. See here for more details.

In its new report, the Committee warned about labour shortages impacting food prices and food security.

HFSS guidance

The government has published its guidance for retailers to be compliant with upcoming restrictions on products high in fat, salt, and sugar.

The guidance outlines how the restrictions will operate, including:

  • Which businesses are impacted by the restrictions
  • What food is in scope
  • How specific elements will operate both in store and online, such as volume price promotions, free refills, and location promotions

IGD will provide detailed analysis of the government’s guidance for retailers in due course, to aid the food and consumer goods industry in preparing for these changes.

Menu calorie labelling

Calorie labelling on menus for businesses with more than 250 employees, has come into force. The regulations cover non-prepacked food and soft drinks.

New Energy Security Strategy

The government has unveiled its Energy Security Strategy, outlining the plan to improve the UK’s energy security and achieve its net-zero targets. Key priorities include:

  • An acceleration of nuclear power to represent 25% of electricity demand by 2050
  • A target of 50GW of offshore wind to be operational by 2030, the current capacity is around 10GW
  • A scaling up of North Sea oil and gas production

Climate change report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published its latest report. Key findings include:

  • Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 in order to limit warming to 1.5°C
  • Emissions can be reduced by between 40% and 70% through policy, infrastructure and technology

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