The price of a sandwich, a lunchtime staple eaten by millions across the UK every week, is poised to reach fresh highs as food costs soar, along with bills for labour, packaging and energy.

War in Ukraine and the resetting of supply chains following pandemic lockdowns mean prices for the ingredients in one of the UK’s most popular sandwiches — the BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) — are up by 56 per cent on average since 1 January 2019, according to data compiled by commodity research group Mintec and the Financial Times.

That rise is led by a huge spike in the price of sunflower oil, of which Ukraine is the world’s largest exporter. But prices for other ingredients are also surging: wheat and tomatoes have each increased by 63 per cent since the start of 2019, while the cost of lettuce has increased by nearly a quarter. Pork is the only ingredient to have remained level.

Food manufacturers and retailers say they have never had to contend with such a rapid surge in all of their input costs. The sandwich, whose assembly and distribution requires fresh ingredients, large factories, labour and prompt, chilled transport, is emblematic of the struggle they face.

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