Food and DrinkNews

High Food Inflation Linked To Major Environmental Issues

This year’s CGA Prestige FPI Report shows that whilst food and drink inflation for restaurants and caterers finished 2018 at 3.7%, 2019’s rate almost doubled to 6.1% (year to date), and that many of these cost challenges were sustainability-related.

Fish prices soared during the year, with pressure on stocks caused by more than 75% of the world’s fisheries being either fully or over-exploited. Fruit and vegetable prices have also run well ahead of expectations with storms, flooding, and drought all impacting production in the UK and Europe. These issues have been building over recent years, and the report identifies a discernible trend of increased disruption.

It draws attention to:

  • Friends of the Earth believe that over 30% of Greenhouse gases are generated in some way by the food system.
  • Climate change, reduced biodiversity, and lower soil fertility are outcomes of a food system that is intended to nourish us.
  • Supply chains are often long and opaque, meaning that consumers often don’t know that their actions contribute to the 8.5m acres of annual deforestation globally.

The report calls for foodservice operators to take immediate action on raising sustainability standards in four key areas:

  • Deforestation – by insisting on the sustainable production of Beef, Soy, Palm Oil, and Coffee
  • Renewables – by adopting a process of REthink, REduce, REuse, REcycle for all single-use products
  • Transport – by the use of more local and seasonal products with less movement
  • Waste – by measuring and action planning to eliminate avoidable waste

David Read, chairman of Prestige Purchasing, said “Our food system was built with the aim of feeding the world at an affordable cost. Now it’s contributing to the destruction of the planet. Urgent reforms are required to create transparent supply chains that protect the environment, and the people that create the food that we eat. The EU’s food sustainability standards are higher than many other areas of the world, and Brexit has the potential to impact sustainability negatively. Care must be taken to protect UK farming, which has been built on a foundation of high standards of sustainability, hygiene and animal welfare”

Fiona Speakman, client director of CGA’s Food and Retail team, said: “Food supply is becoming an ever-more crucial issue for both operators and consumers. CGA research reveals that 45% of consumers rate sourcing environmentally-friendly ingredients as important and 66% are trying to live an environmentally-friendly lifestyle.”