How The Extreme Heat Is Really Affecting Your Grocery Shopping

Climate change is causing the world to heat up, with the planet 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than it was in the late 19th century, notes NASA. While the temperature rise may seem slight, the overall effects of climate change are predicted to involve more frequent and intense heat waves, rising sea levels, and the reduction in useable land (per BBC News).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes the consequences of climate change are already being felt, particularly when it comes to extreme heat. Its data shows that the frequency of heat waves has increased consistently since the 1960s, and their duration and intensity are also higher than they were 60 years ago.

CNN reports that a "suffocating cocoon" of stifling heat has swept through America this summer, with drought conditions and temperatures reaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit in some regions. The EPA lays bare the consequences of extreme heat on food supply systems: livestock is threatened and crops become damaged — but how does intense heat affect ordinary shoppers like you?

High temperatures are making products more expensive

U.S. heat waves are affecting farming. According to CNN, farmland is drying up, and some ranchers are struggling to find water supplies. This obviously affects the growth and survival chances of crops, but also leaves cattle with little grass to eat. As a result, animals are being slaughtered, which in turn influences future beef supplies.

France 24 explains that heat waves cause stressed hens to lay fewer eggs, and cows to struggle to produce milk. Maize, potatoes, and sugar beets are also being affected. In the U.K., farmers report peas, beans, and berries being ruined by heat, details The Guardian.

The reduced availability of food leads to heatflation, meaning that prices rise as people grapple with smaller supplies of food, reports France 24. As of May 2022, European food and drink producers had boosted prices by 14%, but retailers had only been charging increases of 6% — creating concerns that costs for consumers are destined to rise even further (via Allianz).

Heatflation only adds to the price rises that are being inflicted on Americans, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting an 8.5% increase in the past year. AP News notes that global supply chain issues and Russia's invasion of Ukraine are also putting up prices.