Caterers have been urged to up their sustainability game after rising food and drink prices were linked to environmental issues.
That is the stark warning from the authors of the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index Report which states that price rises this year - up 6.1%, compared to an increase of 3.7% last year - are said to be increasingly driven by sustainability challenges.
Extreme weather, including storms, flooding and drought, has had a damaging impact on the growth of fruit and vegetables.
The 2020 crop of carrots, for instance, is said to be at risk after heavy flooding prevented farmers from laying straw to protect against frost damage. Commercial carrot growing regions across the North of England and the Midlands, which accounts for more than 50% of the UK’s carrot growing area, have all been adversely affected by increased rainfall.
Meanwhile fish prices soared during the year as a result of pressure on stocks caused by more than 75% of the world’s fisheries being either fully or over-exploited.
The report called on operators to take immediate action on raising sustainability standards in four key areas:
Deforestation – by insisting on sustainable production of beef, soy, palm oil and coffee; Renewables – by rethinking, reducing, reusing and recycling all single use product; Transport – by using more local and seasonal product; and 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”
The report highlighted that the Friends of the Earth has stated that over 30% of greenhouse gases are generated in some way by the food system.
The Foodservice Price Index Report is jointly produced by procurement company Prestige Purchasing and business intelligence consultancy.