Climate Crisis Threatens Holiday Pie Supplies

Food and Agriculture
An assortment of holiday pies on an outside table.

Climate impacts are constricting supply and driving up prices for numerous key pie ingredients. Alberto Gagliardi / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Climate change, caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, is coming for your pie.

The Washington Post reports droughts, extreme rainfall, and other climate impacts are constricting supply and driving up prices for numerous key pie ingredients, including the honey necessary for graham cracker crumbs, dairy products like sweetened condensed milk, spring red wheat, and vanilla from Madagascar, which is on the brink of a climate-induced famine and has much more to worry about than pie shortages.

“Every consumer package goods company is feeling it — no matter what their business is,” Janis Abbingsole, VP of operations for King Arthur, one of the country’s biggest flour companies. “The pressure on the hard red spring wheat is a result of weather and drought conditions. Mother Nature bats last.”

As reported by The Washington Post:

For consumers, the impact on the food business means that stocks of seasonal items, from entrees to desserts, are significantly below pre-pandemic times, with meat and pies at the highest risk of being out of stock entirely, according to IRI, a global data provider for retail companies. Food prices are also way up, rising 5.1 percent in October over last year, the fastest rate in years, according to inflation data released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists broadly expect that the labor and supply chain disruptions should work themselves out as the pandemic fades, but they say climate and weather impacts will remain major threats to food and a growing number of other industries.

For a deeper dive:

The Washington Post; Climate Signals background: Drought, Extreme precipitation increase

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