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Why you'll be paying more for your curry; Rise in world prices of wheat and rice will soon be felt on streets of South Wales.

Byline: David James

SOARING global food prices will soon hit South Wales where it hurts: at the curry house.

Shoppers are already splashing out extra for basics like eggs and bread at the supermarket because of the world's wheat and rice shortages.

And food inflation is set to bite again when South Wales' curry lovers settle down for a jalfrezi.

Alais Miah, who runs the award-winning Cardamom restaurant on Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, said he would have to put the price of his takeaway menu up for the first time in five years because of rising costs.

Mr Miah said that as well as rising rice costs, cooking oil prices had soared along with other foodstuffs.

He said: "We don't want to have to put up prices. We have not changed our takeaway prices since we opened in 2003.

"But it is a lot of increases for a small business to manage. We have to pay those prices. It's difficult and unfortunately we will have to do something."

A spokesman for the Empire group, which runs several Indian restaurants in Cardiff including Jinuk on Cowbridge Road East, said they had seen rice prices rise 60 per cent in the last year and were battling to avoid putting up prices.

Alex Waugh, of the Rice Association, said the rise was due to big producers like India and China restricting their exports because of shortages.

He said: "A cost increase of that magnitude is going to feed through and this will probably see the price of a curry increase."

Bad weather in China, Europe and North America, as well as farmers switching land to grow bio-fuels, has been blamed for the shortages of both rice and wheat.

Traders' stores of wheat are at their lowest levels since 1979, according to the International Wheat Council.

More wheat is also being used to feed livestock in China and India where demand for meat from the developing populations is growing.

Prices for a bushel of wheat on the international commodities markets have rocketed - jumping 20 per cent in Chicago on Tuesday this week - meaning prices have more than doubled in the last year.

david.james@mediawales.co.uk GOING UP

THE cost of basic foods like eggs and bread has risen by 12 per cent in the last year.

Figures from price comparison website mysupermarket.co.uk show that the price of 24 basic grocery items has risen by around pounds 3 or 12.1 per cent in Britain's three main supermarket chains Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda.

This includes the price of eggs rising from pounds 1.01 to pounds 1.39 for half a dozen, while the average price of a 800g loaf of branded white bread rising from 83p to pounds 1.10.

The latest data from a countrywide survey by The Grocer magazine revealed that the average cost of a 100-item trolley of staple products rose from pounds 169.65 in January 2006 to pounds 183.28 this February.

According to mysupermarket.co.uk, a four-pint bottle of semi-skimmed milk now costs pounds 1.34 but was only pounds 1.11 two years ago. Meat, butter, margarine, sugar, coffee and vegetables have also risen

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COUNTING THE COST Some restaurants, such as the Cardamom in Cardiff, may be putting their prices up because of global food prices.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 28, 2008
Words:556
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