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What’s ‘sogflation’ and the way is it threatening meals provide chains?

From increasing energy prices to the impact of geopolitical unrest on supply imports, the food industry is facing a whole host of challenges, the greatest of these being climate change. Climate change itself is impacting the food industry in multiple ways, one of these being ‘sogflation’. What is sogflation?​ FoodNavigator recently reported on the damaging

What’s ‘sogflation’ and the way is it threatening meals provide chains?

From rising vitality costs to the influence of geopolitical unrest on provide imports, the meals trade is dealing with an entire host of challenges, the best of those being local weather change.

Local weather change itself is impacting the meals trade in a number of methods, one in every of these being ‘sogflation’.

What’s sogflation?

FoodNavigator lately reported on the damaging results of maximum excessive temperatures and drought on crop manufacturing and the following rise within the value of those commodities. This value rise has come to be termed ‘heatflation​’.

First coined by Bloomberg columnist, Lara Williams, so-called sogflation refers to the other finish of the spectrum, highlighting the rising value of commodities because of sustained heavy rainfall and flooding inflicting harm to crops. 

How is heavy rainfall and flooding impacting meals safety?

It’s been a story of two halves throughout a lot of Europe lately. Some international locations, equivalent to Spain, have been hit by excessive excessive temperatures and drought, impacting crops equivalent to olives​. In the meantime different international locations, equivalent to France and Germany, have been subjected to heavy rainfall and flooding, which has broken crops equivalent to wheat and corn.

“In 2023, Europe witnessed the biggest wildfire ever recorded, one of many wettest years, extreme marine heatwaves and widespread devastating flooding” mentioned Carlo Buontempo, director of the EU’s local weather company, Copernicus Local weather Change Service (C3S).

Sogflation - flooded fields - GettyImages-Steve Bateman
What’s ‘sogflation’ and the way is it threatening meals provide chains? GettyImages/Steve Bateman

Within the UK, the eighth wettest winter on record​, resulted in widespread flooding throughout the nation, together with farmland, with wheat, barley and vegetable farmers reporting losses to floodwaters.

“Because the finish of final 12 months, we now have seen a whole bunch of farms throughout the nation face the devastation of flooding and the massive monetary stress and distress that brings. Some farms in Lincolnshire have been beneath water since final October and that’s fully unacceptable,” Tom Bradshaw, president of the Nationwide Farmers Union, instructed FoodNavigator.

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And it’s not simply agricultural farming affected. Livestock farmers have additionally been negatively impacted, with the lack of using grazing land for his or her animals. Nevertheless, even when flood waters have receded farmers have remained unable to graze livestock on the land because the soil is saturated. In 2024, this meant that dairy farmers in affected areas missed out on a time often called “the flush”. The flush is a interval of most milk manufacturing the place the cows are usually outdoors grazing within the fields, gaining loads of vitality from the grass and producing loads of milk.

Moreover, the results of local weather change aren’t solely been felt in Europe, they’re being felt proper throughout the globe, with devastating floods in Rio Grande do Sul at the moment threatening the soybean harvest​. This crop is primarily utilized in animal feed, making it a priority for the soybean farmers themselves, in addition to livestock farmers who depend upon this provide.

The World Well being Group (WHO) has acknowledged that globally, “floods are rising in frequency and depth, and the frequency and depth of maximum precipitation is predicted to proceed to extend because of local weather change”. 

Sogflation - flooded corn field - GettyImages-BanksPhotos
What’s ‘sogflation’ and the way is it threatening meals provide chains? GettyImages/BanksPhotos

How is heavy rainfall and flooding impacting meals costs?

The influence of heavy rainfall and flooding on farmers and their produce has inevitably impacted the price of the commodities they produce, pushing costs up.

Commodities equivalent to butter​ have risen in value lately, with heavy rainfall and flooding cited as one of many major causes.

Extra lately, the UK has seen the worth of potatoes rise because of rain harm to harvests through the 2023/24 rising season.

“The tightness in provide has been pushed by climate points all through the harvest interval with heavy rainfall resulting in a rise in rots and different high quality points. Additional exacerbating the poor situations was the truth that many growers had delayed crop lifting to bolster yields, following delayed plantings initially of the season. This resulted in a better proportion of the crop remaining within the floor when poor climate situations started,” mentioned Harry Campbell, commodity market knowledge analyst at market intelligence agency Mintec.

Equally, heavy rainfall within the Netherlands and Belgium has led to considerations over potato costs throughout Europe as the 2 international locations function main potato suppliers to the area, behind Germany, Poland and France.

Sogflation - sheep - GettyImages-hmproudlove
Sogflation: What’s it and what does it imply for the meals trade? GettyImages/hmproudlove

What might be performed to guard future meals safety?

As sustained heavy rainfall and flooding proceed to negatively influence meals manufacturing, it’s changing into more and more clear that measures have to be taken to create extra resilient food systems​​ and defend future meals safety.

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“Our new evaluation exhibits that Europe faces pressing local weather dangers which can be rising sooner than our societal preparedness,” mentioned Leena Ylä-Mononen, govt director of the European Atmosphere Company (EEA). “To make sure the resilience of our societies, European and nationwide policymakers should act now to cut back local weather dangers each by speedy emission cuts and by robust adaptation insurance policies and actions.”

What’s inflicting these sustained and excessive climate occasions?

Although some climate occasions are anomalies, occurring not often and ensuing from uncommon climate patterns, the overarching pattern in the direction of excessive climate occasions is attributed to local weather change.

What are the first causes of local weather change?

  • Burning fossil fuels: ​The burning of fossil fuels, equivalent to oil, gasoline, and coal, releases carbon dioxide into the earth’s environment, inflicting the earth to warmth up.
  • Deforestation: ​Bushes soak up carbon dioxide to be used in photosynthesis, so the slicing down of bushes removes this important course of. Moreover, the carbon dioxide, which is saved throughout the bushes is launched again into the environment if the wooden is burned.
  • Agriculture: ​Planting crops and rearing animals releases a number of various kinds of greenhouse gases, together with methane from livestock and nitrous oxide from fertilisers, into the environment.

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