Food prices ‘to rise 5pc’ due to extreme weather, new research shows

Economists have warned that the extreme weather this year could increase food prices by at least five percent.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) have said the changes between severely cold winters and heat waves in summers could add an extra £7.15 a month to household food bills.

The Cebr said the extreme weather has put “particular stress on farming costs and yields”.

“Summer 2018 has been one of the warmest in living memory, with above average temperatures recorded since April and dry spells lasting more than 50 days in parts of the country,” said the research group.

“While this has made Britain’s weather more conducive to barbecuing, it looks set to raise the price of the food on the grill and the drink in hand.”

The severe weather over the past few months have hit both arable and dairy production.

The limited grass growth led to a fall in production for 11 weeks in a row and price of butter rise by just under a quarter since March this year.

The heat wave has also saw a fall in pig fertility, which led to the increased price of piglets by eight percent.

“The price of red meat is set to fall marginally in the short run. This is as farmers look to sell livestock earlier than normal to reduce the burden on grazing land. Still, in the longer run, prices are set to rise as feed availability is affected by a weak harvest.”

In total, the research conducted by Cebr predicts that the weather seen this past year will increase costs to UK consumers by up to £45 million per week. The effects of this price increase could take up to 18 months reach customers.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “Food prices are affected by a number of factors aside from the weather, such as fuel costs, international commodity markets and exchange rates.”