The UK is “sleepwalking” into a food supply crisis, the country’s union for farmers and growers has warned.
Ahead of an emergency press conference on Tuesday, the National Farmers Union (NFU) said the Government needed to step in to assist primary producers under severe strain from soaring fuel, fertiliser and feed costs.
Union president Minette Batters said egg shortages “could just be the start” as multiple farming sectors were impacted.
“Shoppers up and down the country have for decades had a guaranteed supply of high-quality affordable food produced to some of the highest animal welfare, environmental and food safety standards in the world,” Ms Batters told the BBC.
“But British food is under threat… at a time when global volatility is threatening the stability of the world’s food production, food security and energy security.
“I fear the country is sleepwalking into further food supply crises, with the future of British fruit and vegetable supplies in trouble.”
The NFU said the next food items which would likely be impacted would be tomatoes, cucumbers and pears due to them all coming from energy-intensive crops.
However, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Britain has a high degree of food security which is “built on supply from diverse sources”, including strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes.
It comes after multiple supermarket giants introduced a temporary buying limit of eggs per customer as a precautionary measure amid the impact on supply of rising costs and bird flu.
The rate of food price inflation is expected to reach a peak year-on-year of between 17% and 19% in early 2023, the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) earlier annouced.
This is up from its previous forecast of a peak of between 14% and 16%.
Downing Street on Tuesday said that the public should be “reassured” by the UK’s “large and highly resilient food supply chain” and “strong food security”.