Chefs and restaurateurs could see food prices soar over the next few months if weather conditions do not improve enough for farmers to harvest their crops.
Farmers are already struggling to gather their crops after the wet summer has left fields in some areas so waterlogged that farmers simply cannot get out to them. Those that can are finding they have to use more fuel to dry out their harvest, which could potentially see the costs passed down to the buyer as farmers are experiencing the ‘most expensive crop ever’.
A spokesman for the National Farmers Union, said: “Like many industries that rely on good weather during the summer, farming is suffering because of record rainfalls that have been recorded in the last few months. The NFU is working hard with its regional offices to get an accurate picture of what impact this is having but there is a definite recognition that this summer will be hard to recover from.
“A poor harvest will impact on all sectors, not just grain, with a lack of fodder for animal feed, as well as having a knock-on effect in terms of planting for next year`s crop. For wheat and barley, in particular, the harvest is both difficult and expensive in terms of gathering and drying wet, sodden crops.”
While big name supermarkets and wholesalers may be keen to absorb the costs to keep their customers happy, smaller companies and independent farm shops may have to pass the costs on to their buyers.
A spokesman for foodservice operator Brakes, said: "Brakes did apply a small fuel charge to deliveries as of the 1st July 2008 and is continuing to work with its suppliers to minimise the impact of food price inflation."
The Government last week lent a hand to struggling farmers by granting a temporary exemption from the cross compliance standard to allow heavy machinery onto waterlogged fields so that crops may be harvested in time.