Economics bulletin 27 October

Date : 26 October 2023

Your overview of economic and policy news with a focus on the food and consumer goods industry. Featuring the latest developments and guidance on the rising cost of living, conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, labour shortages, policy developments and adapting to a new relationship with the EU.

Better availability

In the latest consumer research conducted for IGD (23-24 October 2023), around half of adults (52%) experienced shortages of some food and groceries in-store or online recently. This has fallen significantly since last month (58%) and is at its lowest level since August 2021.

Availability concerns are highest in Northern Ireland (73%), compared to the East Midlands (36%).

IGD Viewpoint: Rebuilding resilience in the UK food supply chain is a key priority for the food and consumer goods industry. It is therefore welcome news that the UK food and grocery supply chain may be beginning to manage the unprecedented pressure it has experienced over recent years. However, it will be important for industry to understand the impact of external events (e.g., international conflicts and extreme weather) on on-shelf availability.

Register to join our free Viewpoint webinar on 16 November 2023 in which we will discuss the economy, consumer sentiment and the policy landscape ahead of 2024.

For our full analysis, please see our article here.

Rising unemployment

Initial estimates from the ONS are indicating that changes to the labour market remain muted. The UK unemployment rate increased slightly by 0.2 percentage points to 4.3% in the period June to August, when compared with the previous quarter (March to May 2023).

IGD Viewpoint: The estimates released indicate that interest rate rises over recent months appear to be having an impact. Economic growth is flat, inflation is falling slowly, and unemployment is nudging up. It will be a challenge in this environment to achieve significant economic growth.

Read our full article here.

Simpler Recycling

Simpler Recycling reforms, previously known as Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England, have been announced. Local Authorities will be required to collect six recyclable waste streams (glass, metal, plastic, paper and card, food waste and garden waste). This will mean that households will only need a minimum of three bins.

Businesses will be required to recycle the waste streams by 31 March 2025. Collections from households will commence by 31 March 2027. Additionally plastic film will be collected from businesses and households from 31 March 2027.

IGD Viewpoint: The ‘Simpler Recycling’ reforms are welcome. These are a first step in ensuring that businesses have a nationalised and effective stream of waste that can be used to drive towards a circular economy and support the network of interconnecting packaging policies.

Wine reforms

The government has set out reforms, commencing in 2024 for the wine sector. Reforms include changes to packaging and labelling requirements as well as providing producers with more freedom when choosing grape varieties.

More economic news and analysis

Sign up to our bulletin

Our round-up of the latest economic and political news, focused on FMCGs