Recently the Association of Chocolate, Biscuits and Confectionery industries of the European Union (Caobisco) argued that, by setting biofuel targets, the Commission could inadvertently contribute to soaring prices and a shortage of raw materials.
The European Commission has proposed the bloc produces enough biofuels to reach a target of 10 per cent of all vehicle fuel by 2020. Biofuels are produced from sugars, edible oils and grains such as corn. Use of biofuels instead of oil is seen as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the subsequent impact on climate change.
In a joint statement released by Caobisco and the International Margarine Association of the Countries of Europe (Imace), the representative bodies stated: "The EU should eliminate compulsory set-aside, revise the whole system of import duties and trade barriers and expanding as much as possible the feedstock base for biofuels in order to reduce the pressure on the food industry."
Rapeseed oil price doubled over the last five years and the price of cereals, starches, and glucose recently increased by about 20 per cent, according to the two organisations.
They blame governments and the European Commission for promoting biofuels through tax incentives. High crude oil prices have also stimulated production.
About 2,000 EU companies belong to Caobisco, whose members are major users of cereals, sugar, glucose and vegetable oils. Imace's members are major users of vegetable oils.
According to the European Environment Agency biofuel crops would take up between 4 per cent and 13 per cent of the total agriculture area of the EU-25 if the bloc were to reach the 5.75 per cent initial target set for 1010 under the biofuels directive.