Beer is a popular drink with 49 billion gallons (186 million kiloliters) consumed worldwide in 2017 but change is underway. Barley, the most widely used grain for beer is predicted to experience worldwide yield reductions of 3 to 17% by the end of the century due to climate change. The shortages could result in the price of beer increasing over 193% in Ireland. Yields of hops have been affected by high temperatures in the Pacific Northwest where over 70% of US production occurs. Droughts are also affecting hop yields in Europe, where in 2015 German production was down over 25% from the previous year. Some Belgian brewers ferment Lambic beers in the open to cool them and infuse them with wild yeasts drifting in the air, but warmer fall and winter conditions are shortening the brewing season making production much more challenging. Unfortunately, all seasons will be warming in Belgium, with winters expected to rise as much as 8˚F by the end of the century.
Yields of major staple crops like wheat and rice are being hurt by increasing temperatures. Wine grape production is moving to cooler climes causing changes in the character of some of our favorites. The flavors and health benefits of teas, the size of potatoes, the sting of a hot pepper, where fish call home in the oceans, and a future decline in protein in vegetables—it’s all changing.
Our food database shows the ingredients affected by a changing climate.
To learn what farmers, scientists, and many others are doing to keep the menu stocked, see Stewardship of the Land and Our Changing Menu: Climate Change and the Foods We Love and Need. You have a role, too!
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This food ingredient database is in its early phase and we will strive to expand it on an ongoing basis so that everyone is aware of how climate change is affecting the foods we love and need.