Families face a “massive hike” in the price of bread, an industry boss has warned.

John Foster, managing director of wholesale bakery Fosters in Barnsley, said the sector was in the grip of “the biggest wheat shortage I have ever witnessed in my career.”

Combined with soaring energy bills, he said prices would have to rise.

“We are seeing the price of wheat shooting up,” Mr Foster told the BBC.

“By February next year we are going to see a massive hike in the price of bread.”

Rising global demand has sent the price of bread wheat up by nearly 27% in the past year, while other costs continue to increase including fuel for transport and gas used in baking ovens.

Some of this will be absorbed by retailers but higher prices on shop shelves are unavoidable, say experts.

Pasta prices have already started to rise in recent weeks, with more increases likely.

Alice Jones, analyst with agricultural body AHDB, said: “Global wheat prices keep climbing each week on the back of supply concerns, and UK prices are following global trends.”

Mr Foster said his firm’s energy bill was normally £164,000 a year, but was set to rocket next year.

“Some of the figures we are seeing would put it up by 300%, to half a million,” he went on.

“It is an extra £340,000 we would have to find from somewhere.

“Prices will have to rise.”

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