Extreme summer heat is about to send food prices soaring

Millions of families will be hit in the pocket after recent extreme weather sent food prices soaring.

The big freeze followed by a scorching summer has played havoc with crops.

Shoppers will feel the pinch at checkouts as higher meat, veg and dairy prices are expected to add almost £86 to a typical annual grocery bill.

A Centre for Economics and Business Research spokesman said: “While wholesale prices are up by an average of 5%, the average basket will cost 3% more at the checkout.”

Grim figures from Cebr show the wholesale cost of lettuce has soared by 61% from March to July, while the price of onions is 41% higher.

Carrots were hit by the biggest rise, with ­wholesale prices increasing by 80%. Strawberries soared by 28%, wheat was up 20% and milk 24%.

Trade journal The Grocer revealed a knock-on effect on some retail prices.

It found a kilo of carrots was already 8.3% higher than last year at about 65p, while a pack of three large onions is up 3.5% to an average of 75p.

An iceberg lettuce now typically costs 52p – up 6% in a year.

Poor grass growth during the heatwave led to milk production falling for 11 weeks in a row. Pig fertility also dropped due to high temperatures, pushing up the cost of piglets by 8%.

This will affect the price of bacon and sausages.

Red meat will also go up by Christmas as a poor harvest pushes the price of winter feed up, Cebr said.

National Farmers’ Union president Minette Batters said shelves for feeding livestock were “effectively bare”, while dairy farmers were having to rely on silage meant for winter use.

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She added: “Many farmers are looking at £60,000 of added costs.”

Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – were unable to say when and how price rises could hit shoppers.

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