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Wet summer could place extra demands on food supply chain

Wet summer could place extra demands on food supply chain

The predicted wet summer weather could harm certain food sales and cause a greater need for flexibility within the food supply chain, experts have claimed.

Over the past ten years, the UK has seen six summers where rainfall was above average.

A Met Office summit held last week revealed that the recent pattern of wet summers could be set to continue for another decade.

Stephen Belcher, head of the Met Office's Hadley Centre in Bracknell, Berkshire, said that in each of Britain's previously wet summers there were shifts in the position of the jet stream, which impacts weather in certain ways during different periods of the year.

He said: "The key question is what is causing the jet stream to shift in this way? There is some research to say some parts of the natural system load the dice to influence certain states of the jet stream, but this loading may be further amplified by climate change."

And some experts believe that further unpredictable weather will result in a need for supply chains to be more flexible in order to cater for the fluctuations in demand for certain products influenced by conditions.

He told Food Manufacture: "Whether people drink a little more when it’s sunnier, or are more likely to go shopping and spend more or splash out because they’ve invited people round more often, it all adds up to higher spending."

Some of the factors being cited for the recent weather have included solar variability, long-term ocean and weather cycles, as well as melting Arctic sea ice caused by global warming.

The effects on crops have been highlighted by the National Farmers Union, which has said that wheat production is set to be 30 per cent lower than in the previous year.

Chairman Andrew Watts explained that extreme winter weather had already posed a significant threat to farmers, and warned that confidence within the supply chain had reached a new low.

 

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