When hot peppers were grown under potential worst case climate change scenarios, yields were reduced by almost 90% and time to harvest was shortened by about two weeks. Higher temperatures and levels of C02 can also increase the incidence of disease in hot peppers. In addition, warmer and dry weather increases the alkaloid concentration in peppers, leading to much hotter jalapenos, especially in growing regions in the Upper Midwest, where the climate is becoming warmer and drier during the growing season.
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.