Analysis of extent of UK food imports from Mediterranean region show scale of threat which increasingly severe climate impacts pose to UK food security.
With parts of Europe and north Africa suffering extreme high temperatures and wildfires, analysis of the extent of UK food imports from the Mediterranean region show the scale of threat which increasingly severe climate impacts pose to UK food security.
The report, by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) shows that in 2022, just over a quarter of UK food imports – 9.8 billion kilograms, worth just over £16 billion – came from the Mediterranean region, most of which was staple fresh produce like fruit and vegetables. Spain alone, which is experiencing some of the worst climate impacts in the region, accounted for 7% of our food imports – worth £4 billion.
Europe has warmed at twice the rate of the global average over the last three decades, with the nations in southern Europe and northern Africa, around the Mediterranean experiencing some of the worst heat extremes ever in the last few years.
This has caused harm to food production as water shortages, extreme heat and fire damage crops, reduce quality and lower yields. Reduced yields mean less food in our shops and markets, and higher prices for the commodities affected. Previous ECIU analysis found that climate change and fossil fuel prices added more than £400 to household shopping bills in 2022, increasing the total annual UK food shopping bill by around £11.4 billion.