‘You’re either in or out’: The battle over food for America
Food and drink companies are racing to produce foods that can survive the coming global crisis, with one big caveat: consumers have to be on board.
Read moreRead moreIn the first week of December, food companies were scrambling to produce food for consumers in the US, where a new drought is causing farmers to flee.
In the United Kingdom, a new snowstorm is bringing fresh rains to farms and in parts of Europe, the European Union is grappling with the prospect of a food crisis that will threaten millions of people.
The threat of climate change will also make food production more vulnerable, with the threat of extreme weather becoming more prevalent as climate change continues to accelerate.
“It’s not a crisis, it’s a problem,” said Richard Sargent, chief executive of food safety company Aussie Foods, which has a plant in Australia.
He said there were “very limited options” for food products in the coming months.
“We need to start thinking about the fact that there’s a very limited supply in the world,” he said.
In the UK, food production has been boosted by a decision by the government to phase out the use of pesticides in farm land.
But the move has led to food prices increasing.
Aussie Foods sells its products in supermarkets and online, and in the past year has seen a surge in its sales, said Sarget.
“The [pesticides] are really expensive,” he explained.
The cost of growing food has risen by 30 per cent over the past decade, according to the National Farmers Union.
“So, the cost of food has gone up so much because the price of food, the value of food goes up,” Sargeth said.
“That’s a huge risk for consumers and also for the environment.
Food prices are already rising at a rate of 30 per 100,000 people.”
The impact of climate crisisOn average, the food industry will be producing between 300m tonnes of food per year and importing around 50m tonnes, according a recent report from the UK government.
It said that if food prices increase at the rate they have in recent years, the UK could lose between a billion and a trillion pounds of agricultural products and be importing only one-fifth of its food needs.
However, that could change.
Some food companies have predicted that prices could go up by between 60 per cent and 90 per cent, depending on the weather.
An analysis by the University of Bath found that if temperatures increase by more than 1.5C in the UK by 2031, food prices could rise by as much as 100 per cent.
This would be the biggest change in UK food prices since the financial crisis.
In the United States, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that the impact of global warming will mean that the world will have lost around one billion tonnes of farmland by 2045.
That is about one-sixth of the US’s agricultural land.
In Canada, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has estimated that the total area lost to global warming would be as much 4.3 billion hectares by 2050.
That would be equivalent to a country of Canada.