Extreme weather affects key commodity areas

SPONSORED: By Matthew White, Chair of the University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) and Director of Catering, Hotel and Conferencing at the University of Reading

We can all agree that we had some fantastic weather this summer, but what consequences will this have on food supply?

We’ve just released our latest TUCO Intelligence food and drinks trends report, a series of reports designed to arm buyers with the latest intelligence on trends affecting caterers and anyone supplying them. In Q3, the report found the extended bad weather at the start of the year, followed by the extended hot spell in summer across the UK and Europe was widely expected to result in a poor fruit and vegetable yield.

It predicted the fluctuation in temperature would also affect the production of dairy, eggs, fish, seafood and alcohol. In our Q4 intelligence report, it was found the production of maize, cooking oil, fish, alcohol and dairy are still a worry. This year’s weather conditions have put stress on farming costs and yields. Butter prices increased 50% in the first half of the year and remain higher than expected, while rapeseed oil crop is expected to be 10% down and North Sea cod prices rose in the summer by approximately 20%.

Brexit adds to the concern, with many caterers discussing contingency plans and whether it is necessary to stockpile food in preparation for any potential delays and shortages that could result if no agreement is reached by March 2019.

According to the Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) latest business confidence survey, it revealed that more than a third (38%) of food manufacturers surveyed are reporting an increase in costs as a result of stockpiling. It is for caterers to monitor, and we can help, as
our professional procurement team can ease pressure by continuing to ensure our members receive best value for money in today’s market.

We never sit still at TUCO, and I am delighted to share the news that TUCO won ‘Procurement Team of the Year’ award at this year’s Foodservice Cateys. It was a great event, and the procurement team thoroughly deserved it for all their hard work and new initiatives they launched this year. Congratulations to the team!

TUCO Intelligence food and drinks trends reports are available to view at: www.tuco.ac.uk/grow/tuco-research