Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Price of Bacon and a Sugar Shortage

Delivery cart outside Ashton Road Grocery Store, Luton c.1905 [Z1306/75/18/52]

Thursday 15th March 1917: A deputation from the Grocers’ Section of the Tradesmen’s Association has visited the Luton News to explain matters in connection with food prices. The Food Controller’s statement on food prices published in the daily papers on Saturday fixed the price of bacon for the next fortnight at 1s 2½d to 1s 4d per pound. Councillor Albert Oakley of Messrs Oakley brothers explained that the fixed price is for “green” bacon on the wharf, to which must be added carriage, drying and smoking (which entails a considerable amount of shrinkage), and a small amount for profit for the wholesaler. The retailer must allow for waste in cutting, resulting in a price to the consumer of 1s 10d in Luton for prime cuts, a price less than that charged in London and from which provision merchants were “barely getting two half-pennies for a penny”.

It has also been reported that Captain Bathurst M.P. had stated in Parliament that the amount of sugar distributed to the trade would allow 12 ounces per person per week. In fact Captain Bathurst had said that there is sufficient sugar in the country to supply the population with that amount, and that the Food Controller is taking steps to improve distribution. Until that has been achieved it will be impossible to provide everyone with 12 ounces per week. The scarcity of sugar is the result of people running from one shop to another in search of sugar, and large families asking for three-quarters for a pound for each member. The population of Luton had increased by thousands, resulting in a shortage while in the districts those people had left there was a plentiful supply.

Source:  Luton News, 15th March 1917

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