Drought fears cause concern as food prices surge further

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Drought fears cause concern as food prices surge further CGA by NielsenIQ Prestige Foodservice Price Index

Related tags Inflation Foodservice price index Foodservice price inflation Cga heat wave

Concerns are growing about drought conditions in many parts of the UK, the latest CGA Prestige Foodservice Index reveals, amid a fifth consecutive month of double-digit percentage inflation.

Inflation in the foodservice sector reached 11.5% in June. All 10 food and drink categories in the Index moved upwards year-on-year, with three—fruit, dairy, and oils and fats—recording inflation of more than 20%.

Several categories surged month-on-month as the impacts on key commodities from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continued to mount.

Meanwhile, the recent country's recent heatwave has fuelled fears of drought conditions in many parts of the UK.

Strategies from the National Drought Group to deal with very dry weather could include a ban on farmers watering their crops in the crucial period of August and September, which would put root vegetables including potatoes under particular threat.

Shortages of seasonal labour are adding to growers’ problems by threatening their ability to get their product to market, while poor grass growth is impacting dairy and livestock yields.

“Instability continues to be the dominant feature of food and drink markets, and we predict that this will continue into 2023,” says Shaun Allen, Prestige Purchasing CEO.

“It’s essential for operators to mitigate the impact on gross margins by investing in skills and resource levels to effectively manage this volatile environment. Doing so in a timely manner can eliminate even these high levels of inflation.”

Beyond the UK, drought is already a major problem in Italy, with crops including tomatoes and durum wheat already affected, and conditions across the rest of the EU are also causing concern.

“Drought is the latest in a very long line of threats to global foodservice supply, and alongside the ongoing war in Ukraine it means inflation is likely to remain high for some time,” says James Ashurst, client director at CGA by NielsenIQ.

“With consumers as well as businesses feeling a tightening squeeze on their spending, the outlook for all food and drink businesses remains challenging.”

Related topics Trends & Reports Casual Dining

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