Climate change effect on UK food costs

uk food costs

uk food costsA report by Oxfam has warned that the impact of climate change on future food prices is being underestimated, and predicts that extreme weather events like droughts and floods could drive up costs in the future.

As well as having a devastating impact on the world's poorest people who today spend up to 75% of their income on food, the charity predicts that the massive price hikes will also adversely affect UK consumers.

People on the lowest incomes in the UK already spend up to half of their household budget on food, and this proportion could grow as a result of global warming, according to the report entitled Extreme Weather, Extreme Price.

"Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns hold back crop production and cause steady price rises," said Tim Gore, Oxfam's climate change policy adviser.

"But extreme weather events - like the current US drought - can wipe out entire harvests and trigger dramatic food price spikes. We will all feel the impact as prices spike but the poorest people will be hit hardest."

Best value

Rising food costs can be a big worry for families, especially with household budgets squeezed to their limits.

It is therefore important to get the most of your weekly shop by keeping an eye out for
the best value products, particularly when you are buying essential food and drink items.

To lend you a helping hand, comparison website mySupermarket has launched an online tool which shows shoppers whether or not the deals at the top supermarkets are worth buying.

The 'Savvy Buys' feature works by using price tracking technology to highlight when grocery items are at least 30% cheaper than they have been all year. It claims this will provide "the definitive benchmark" for a good supermarket deal, but obviously only for consumers with internet access.

'Real' prices

Alongside Savvy Buy, mySupermarket has also launched a tool showing the average price of goods on sale at major supermarkets.

This gives you the chance to see the "real" price of products as sometimes deals are not necessarily as good as they first seem - with prices higher than their historical average before they are slashed.

The average price is taken across the previous year at all the stores it lists (Morrisons is not included because it doesn't offer online shopping), taking into account all price rises, falls and promotions to give you the inside track on what's hot and what's not.