Looking ahead

Gaps in supply chains are set to become a regular feature of the UK economy. In April, supermarket chain Morrisons started limiting customers to two sweet peppers per shopping trip because of procurement difficulties for salad ingredients. Cold weather in southern Europe has led to shortages across the continent, while high energy costs have deterred UK growers from planting early greenhouse salad crops. Supplies of early season tomatoes and cucumbers have also been affected.

Traditional sources for these crops are Spain, Morocco and neighbouring north African countries. The combination of higher fuel costs for imported salad crops and the cold snap has wreaked havoc.

In March, the UK recorded headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation of 10% https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/consumerpriceinflation/march2023 But take a closer look at the Office of National Statistics data and consumers will learn that food inflation is running at around 19% (CPIH 12-month rate for March 2023). Climate disruption is just one of many factors that will have a generalised effect on future developments in many sectors. Animal products of all kinds have already been heavily impacted in recent months and the sector can be expected to see further upward pressure on prices if producers are going to stay in business.

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