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Fresh Produce

Dutch Bakeries Face Threat Of Closure As Energy Prices Surge: Industry Body

A surge in energy prices is threatening a wave of closures across the Dutch bakery sector, its industry lobby has warned, with some businesses saying costs have risen as much as tenfold.

Dutch inflation hit 12% in August, Statistics Netherlands said earlier this week, driven largely by a 151% year-on-year leap in gas and electricity prices.

"I am hearing from a lot of entrepreneurs that if this holds up for much longer, they'll have to close up shop," said Marie-Helene Zengerink, general manager of the Dutch Association for Bread and Pastry Bakers, which has 1,600 affiliated bakers.

"We are talking about a lot of family businesses. It's a real emergency."

Energy Prices

The association took out a full-page ad in the Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad newspaper on Tuesday, appealing to the government to do something about runaway energy costs.

Governments across Europe have pushed through multibillion-euro packages to protect companies and households following a jump in power prices, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine helped drive the cost of gas sharply higher.

Energy contracts for many bakers have expired or are set to expire this year, with power bills sometimes jumping from €3,000 a month to €30,000 a month, Zengerink said.

"That's not a cost you can pass on to customers for a loaf of bread."

The association is lobbying the Dutch government to temporarily scrap tax on energy and to drop its opposition to an energy price cap imposed in some European countries.

Food Sector

Others in the food sector were also suffering from rising costs. Dutch online grocery delivery company Picnic, with annual sales of roughly €450 million, said it was halting deliveries of frozen goods.

'The energy crisis has hit our ice supplier so much that it can no longer make sustainable dry ice,' Picnic said.

Customers will not be able to order frozen pizzas, meals or ice cream until it has found an alternative supplier, it said.

Read More: Energy Crisis Poses Threat To Food Security: Finnish Food Industry Federation

News by Reuters, edited by ESM – your source for the latest fresh produce news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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