Food prices in the UK could increase by as much as 5% due to the heatwave and ‘Beast from the East’, research by Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has suggested.
Between March and July, the wholesale “farm gate” prices of some staples increased by up to 80%. The price of wheat for bread rose by 20%, strawberries by 28%, carrots by 41% and lettuce by 61%.
The farm gate price of carrots rose by 80%, according to European Commission figures used by the analysts. Wheat was named as a particular concern for the group, with harvest expected to be down by 5% in 2018.
Domestic dairy yields have also been affected as poor grass growth saw production fall for 11 weeks in a row and the farm gate price of butter increased by just under a quarter in March.
Pig fertility has decreased as a result of the warmer weather, leading to an 8% price increase for piglets.
In total, the Cebr expects the extreme weather will increase costs to UK consumers by £45m per week, although the full effects could take up to 18 months to filter through to customers.
The Cebr said: “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.
“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.”
It added: “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.”