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CHRISTMAS CARVE-UP

UK
Christmas Day dinner on Tuesday will be the MOST EXPENSIVE EVER for millions of families in Britain. And it's all linked to our wet summer when torrential rain and flooding ruined crops across the UK, Europe and even America. The freak weather reduced yields - and upped prices - of everything from potatoes to poultry corn, chipolatas to chestnuts, and cranberry sauce to Brussels sprouts. Wine, already heavily taxed, has gone up by between 50p and £1.50 a bottle across the board. Organic turkeys big enough to feed eight are as much as £100 due to the high cost of corn feed and the bird flu outbreak. The summer floods devastated root vegetable crops. "Increased prices on festive groceries have put enormous pressure on the pockets of UK households." There are bargains to be had if people shop around for individual products - but most families simply haven't got the time to go to several supermarkets to seek out bargains. And even if they had, the soaring cost of fuel - another factor in rising food prices - would probably not make it worthwhile.

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