Survey Reveals Worries About The Impact Of Climate Change On Food Prices

If you've made a recent trip to the grocery store or farmers market, you've undoubtedly noticed something none too pleasing when you've reached for your wallet to pay: Food prices are going way, way up, with staple items ranging from steak to fresh fish to wheat products to citrus fruits rising by as much as 17% since last year, according to Quartz. Many of these skyrocketing costs can be attributed to record inflation, reports CNBC, but global politics are also pressuring the situation, from the Ukraine-Russia conflict which has affected the grain exports of both countries (via Bloomberg) to an avian flu outbreak that has caused U.S. farmers to put down many egg-laying hens.

Another concern, when it comes to staying within budget on food costs, is climate change. According to the World Economic Forum, the planet's rising temperatures and more common extreme weather events will threaten the reliability of the food supply, making some foods less available on the global marketplace and therefore driving up the prices of what does make it to stores. And of all the social, environmental, and economic issues stemming from climate change, a new survey shows that U.S. consumers are most worried about how a warming climate will affect the prices of their favorite foods.

Shoppers are concerned about climate change driving up food prices

In their responses to a new survey by the Gardner Food and Agricultural Policy Survey, Americans expressed concern about how climate change will affect food prices. The online survey of about 1,000 US consumers is conducted quarterly, and features questions focusing on public perceptions of food and agriculture. The most recent survey, conducted in May, was published on farmdoc daily earlier this month, and its results show that of the many issues associated with climate change, budgeting for food is a top worry on shoppers' minds.

According to those results, on a scale from 1 (not at all worried) to 7 (extremely worried), U.S. consumers' worry about climate change affecting food prices was ranked at 5.3. A top concern, ranking a 5 from consumers, was how climate change will cause difficulties for farmers and ranchers, as well as how it might cause food shortages, also earning a 5.

The survey's results demonstrated that worry about climate change varies from region to region. Overall, the American West is most worried about global warming, with 83.1% of survey respondents in that region saying they were "very worried" or "somewhat worried." In the South, only 73.3% of respondents said they were "very worried" or "somewhat worried." But concern about food prices specifically was similar across regions, demonstrating that in these times of a higher cost of living, Americans across the board don't want to pay any more for food than they already are.