11 July 2008 17:41 [Source: ICIS news]
TORONTO (ICIS news)--Claims by German food and beverage producers this week that biofuels are to blame for soaring food and drink prices are misleading consumers, the country’s oil seeds processors association, Verband der ölsaatenverarbeitenden Industrie in Deutschland (OVID), said on Friday.
A coalition of German food and drinks producers - led by the country's brewers, margarine producers and bakers - called this week on the government to stop its subsidies and reduce biofuels blending quotas due to impacts on food supplies and prices.
However, OVID general manager Petra Sprick strongly rejected those demands and claims.
The cost of malt and barley, for example, accounted for only 2-4% of the final costs of beer, she said.
The real cost driver in that industry were higher glass prices as a result of higher energy prices.
Sprick said it was important to realise that there was no single cause driving food prices.
More important than biofuels were the rising demand for food and meat in China and India, poor harvests in many parts of the world, as well as financial speculation on commodities markets, she said.
Higher raw material and commodity prices were a global phenomenum, and German food producers need to honestly communicate this to consumers rather than singling out biofuels as a scapegoat, she said.
She added that prices for grain and oilseeds had actually come down in recent weeks as prospects for harvests improved.
Media officials at Germany's brewer association, the Deutsche Brauer-Bund, could not immediatley be reached for additional comment on Friday.
Berlin-based OVID represents a number of large oilseed producers, including the German affiliates of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Cargill and Bunge.
Earlier this week, German biofuels industry association Verband der Deutschen Biokraftstoffindustrie (VDB) defended biofuels against claims, triggered by a World Bank report, that they were responsible for a 75% increase in global food prices.
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