THE global price of rice is soaring, causing some Hillingdon restaurateurs to feel the pinch and consider passing the increases on to customers.
Since the start of the year, global rice prices have risen by more than 50 per cent, and the doubling of the price of rice in the UK has had a huge impact on businesses.
To make matters worse, as rice is the staple food for more than half the world's population, the failure of supply to keep pace with demand could mean a further 40 per cent increase in prices over the next few months.
Although rises in the price of rice do not affect the majority of consumers in the UK as much as rises in the price of wheat might, restaurants which rely greatly on rice are having to suffer the consequences.
Peter Yu, manager of Tai-Pan, Oriental Buffet, Uxbridge, has noticed a large increase in rice prices but that has not yet been passed on to customers.
Mr Yu said: "We've noticed we're paying a lot more, at least 20 per cent more for each sack of rice.
"Though it has increased, we haven't put up our prices. That's a decision the owner has to make. Eventually, it may get to the stage where we have to start charging more."
Mr Yu also added that it is not only rice that has risen in cost over the past year, he said: "We've noticed that cooking oil has gone up too."
Though the rise in the cost of rice may not mean that you struggle to feed the family at home, rice is relied on by about three billion people internationally who will be of the same view as Mr Yu, who added: "We can only hope that the prices drop."
Rahman Embadur, manager of Koh-I-Noor, an Indian restaurant on Uxbridge High Street agrees that the price of rice has shot up significantly within the past year.
He said: "Normally a 20kg bag of rice is £17, now it's £30. We are paying almost double what we were paying before."
On being questioned about how this will affect the price of the menu, Mr Embadur said: "New menus have been drafted just in case prices do not drop, hopefully it will not get to the stage where we have to start charging more."