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What do changing weather and climate shocks and stresses mean for the UK food system?

Falloon, P., Bebber, D. P., Dalin, C., Ingram, J., Mitchell, D., Hartley, T. N., Johnes, P. J., Newbold, T., Challinor, A. J., Finch, J., Galdos, M. V., Petty, C., Cornforth, R. ORCID:, Bhunnoo, R., Pope, E., Enow, A., Borrion, A., Waterson, A., MacNeill, K. and Houldcroft, A. (2022) What do changing weather and climate shocks and stresses mean for the UK food system? Environmental Research Letters, 17 (5). 051001. ISSN 1748-9326

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac68f9


In light of the publication of Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy (www.nationalfoodstrategy. org/) and the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow, it is timely to consider the impacts of weather and climate extremes on the UK food system. Climate change-driven changes in extreme weather events are one of the highest-risk future shocks to the UK food system [1], underlining the importance of preparedness across the food chain [2]. Here, we identify major knowledge gaps in the primary impacts of extreme weather and climate change across the UK’s food system, its functioning and their interactions to provide information to support adaptation and resilience planning. Research tends to focus on individual food system activities rather than taking a systematic approach [3, 4]. How- ever, strong evidence exists about the impacts of long- term climate trends and extremes [5] on primary food production [6]. The major knowledge gaps therefore concern post-primary production dimensions [4], notably food system activities between the ‘farm-gate’ and consumption—which are the core focus of this paper (supplementary material S1 available online at These constitute major economic and social dimensions but are often the ‘missing middle’ in food system discus- sions. We use the UK food system as an illustrative case study, and consider both global and domestic risks and implications. We present methods, tools and frameworks for systemic analysis of climate impacts on food systems, consider the funding landscape, and highlight priorities for future research.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Walker Institute
ID Code:107346
Publisher:Institute of Physics


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