A new report suggests food cheats cost the average household £424 a year.
FOOD fraud is hitting company profits and costing consumers every time they go shopping, says a new report by accountancy firm, PKF Littlejohn and the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at the University of Portsmouth. It finds that top UK food and drinks companies could be losing more than £11.2bn a year to fraud and error, equivalent to more than 85% of their total profits. For shoppers, fraud accounts for 5p out of every pound they spend.
“Food and drink fraud is the crime in our baskets,” said Jim Gee, co-author of the report and head of forensic and counter fraud services for PKF Littlejohn. “It results in food and drink being more expensive than it should be.”
He estimates that cutting fraud would knock 5p off a loaf of bread, 11p from six eggs and 28p from a bottle of wine. Food and drink fraud, he adds, can cost an average household £424 over a year.
Professor Lisa Jack, co-author of the report and chair of the food fraud group at the University of Portsmouth, said: “Food fraud is always financially motivated. On the whole, it does not harm public health. It’s more that consumers and food businesses are not always getting what they pay for.
“Margins are so tight in the food sector that almost any food can be misrepresented to get a bit of profit for a fraudster.”