Oxfam says food companies need to pay windfall tax, making big profits amid soaring prices

At the beginning of its annual meeting, the anti-poverty organisation Oxfam suggested that food firms producing large profits amid skyrocketing inflation should be taxed to battle global inequality. The World Economic Forum was held in Davos this year.

It is one of the recommendations that can be found in the report that was compiled by the confederation of humanitarian organisations known as Oxfam. For the past ten years, Oxfam has been working to raise awareness of inequality among the political and business elite who congregate in the ski resort located in Switzerland known as Davos.

The report, which is intended to spark panel discussions this week featuring leaders from business and government, asserts that the world is beset by multiple crises, including climate change, the rising cost of living, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the COVID-19 pandemic, but that the world’s wealthiest people are becoming richer and that corporate profits are on the rise.

According to Oxfam, the wealth of the world’s ultra-wealthy has almost doubled in the past two years, while the wealth of the remaining 99.9 per cent of the population has remained relatively stable. While this is happening, billionaires’ wealth is increasing at a rate of $2.7 billion daily.

Oxfam proposes several policies that, if implemented, would increase the amount of taxes paid by the wealthy. These policies include “solidarity taxes” levied only once and an increase in the minimum tax rate paid by the wealthiest individuals.

What is increasing food prices in the US

According to an article published in December 2022 by Food Business News, 62% of food and beverage professionals in the United States expect to lower costs for customers in 2023. According to the study’s findings, one strategy for lowering inflation would be to renegotiate pricing terms with suppliers and reduce stockpiles of certain commodities. Despite this, some of the priorities that were identified included both lowering costs and raising costs, depending on the respondent.

There was an increase in revenue reported by over 70% of respondents for the year 2022 compared to the previous year (2021), with 48% reporting increases of 10% or more.

According to the survey findings, an increase in revenue is not the only indicator of positive trends. During the previous year, 45% of executives in the food and beverage industry grew their workforce by at least 5%, while 20% grew their workforce by at least 10%. A little under half of respondents are optimistic about the labour market in 2023.

Seventy per cent of executives believe their company’s sales will grow within the following year. Twenty-one per cent of those who participated in the survey believe that revenues will not change in the year 2023, while ten per cent anticipate that revenues will decrease.

Factors such as production and shipping delays, procurement of raw materials, and cost management play a role in the decision-making process of those who aim to pass the financial burden on to customers. Moreover, even though more than half of those questioned rank workforce expansion as a top priority for the coming year, it remains difficult to locate qualified candidates. Increased salaries, bonuses, and a better work-life balance are ways the sector intends to address the issue.

The FAO report

In December 2022, the FAO Food Price Index decreased for the ninth consecutive month to 132.4, the lowest level since September 2021, from a downwardly revised 135 in November. Wheat export prices decreased by 1.9% as continuous harvests in the southern hemisphere increased supplies, and competition among exporters remained fierce. In addition, global corn prices decreased. Lower quotations for palm, soy, rapeseed and sunflower seed oils led to a 6.7% decline in vegetable oil prices. Also, meat prices decreased by 1.2%, as higher prices for pig and sheep meat somewhat offset reduced global prices for bovine and poultry meats.

In contrast, dairy prices rose 1.1% after five consecutive months of reductions, primarily due to cheese. The price of sugar jumped by 2.4%, reaching its highest level in six months, primarily due to worries about the impact of bad weather conditions on crop production in India. In 2022, food prices grew by 14.3%, followed by a 28.1% increase in 2021.

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