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Extreme weather set to push up household food bills



Household food bills are set to rise by an estimated £7.15 a month as a result of the UK’s extreme weather, research suggests.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) say 2018’s scorching summer – and the cold, wet winter that preceded it – has affected domestic farming yields, which in turn will have an impact on prices.

A range of British-grown fruit and vegetables will be more expensive, with wholesalers already paying nearly double for some staple items.

File photo dated of wheat in a field in Warwickshire
The wholesale price of wheat for bread is up by 20%, the CEBR says

Since March 2018, the CEBR says:

:: The wholesale price of carrots is up by 80%
:: The wholesale price of onions is up by 41%
:: The wholesale price of lettuce is up by 61%
:: The wholesale price of wheat for bread is up by 20%

The farm gate price of butter has also risen by 24% since the start of the year because the hot weather has dried up grass pasture which is critical to feed dairy herds.

Meat, including sausages and bacon, are also likely to be affected.

The hot weather has affected pig fertility and piglets are now 8% more expensive, the research shows.

Pig farms and abbatoirs use CO2 to stun the animals before they are slaughtered
The hot weather has seen pig fertility fall

Although supermarkets can often cushion the blow to consumers in the short-term, the price rises this year are so significant that the CEBR is warning consumers to brace themselves for a 5% rise in their weekly shop.

It 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.”

The knock-on effect of the extreme weather is likely to last longer than the heatwave itself.

Government research shows that it can take up to 18 months for wholesale price rises to be fully felt by consumers, with the CEBR warning “while the worst of heat may have passed, the cost to consumers looks set to climb”.

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