Middle class shoppers up and down the UK could be hit financially as the cost of fashionable household staples like tea and coffee are set to rise due to global shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Producers of trendy Fair Trade items often found in your local hipster coffee bar or quirky restaurants are struggling to makes ends meet as they battle the implications caused by Covid-19.
A drop in production levels and a continuation in falling prices in regions that produce some of Britons most-loved items could mean that once production schedules are back on track once lockdown restrictions are lifted, prices are upped in order to make up or the shortfall.
Globally, supply chains have been forced to reduce production times as factories and facilities adhere to social distancing measures, while still trying to keep their businesses afloat and keep staff safe.
The transportation of products has also experienced delays due to restrictions at ports, whether due to a reduction in staffing levels, or because some have closed completely.
This is while the Office for National Statistics today said the price of high-demand food and sanitary products has risen sharply over the past months. Products including beans and toilet roll have risen by at least 4 per cent.
The graph above shows what the UK imports globally and just some of the Fair Trade items that will be impacted
Shoppers across the UK have already seen shortages of some products due to panic buying before the lockdown
A shortage of shipping containers has also meant that products that can be shipped are sat at docks, with thousands of empty containers sat waiting to be filled in places such as China.
Countries like Kenya are currently losing around £240,000 as their flower production farms are unable to function to full capacity.
This is while in Bangladesh, a lack of demand for clothing items has seen £1.2bn wiped off their order estimates.
In India the price of tea has dropped by 40 per cent and in South America the coffee trade has collapsed as 60 per cent of the harvest has been left unpicked.
In term consumers will feel the brunt of the prices going up as farmers struggle to claw back their complete production lines.
While markets look uneven, with indexes such as the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 are all down, most commodity markets are up and and items such as cotton, wheat, cocoa and corn and all performing well in comparison to big market makers.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4 this morning, Lord Mark Price, who is the chairman of Fair Trade UK, said prices are collapsing across industries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lord Mark Price (pictured above) warned issues with global production would impact the UK market
‘Supermarkets have their own supply chains and that’s why you’re seeing the very real problems we have at the moment in the UK dairy industry with milk prices having collapsed.
‘It’s not just in the UK it’s internationally as well, and what we are seeing now is a collapse in developing countries, in Kenya now, in their fair trade flower trade they are dumping 50 tonnes of flowers a day tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs’.
The Kenya Flower Council also highlighted that an estimated £240,000 a day is being lost to the industry as a result of COVID-19.
Lord Price added: ‘In India the price of tea has dropped by 40 per cent.’
Fair Trade International said there had been a sharp decline in the price of tea from certain origins and said that major tea buying auctions have been suspended or postponed.
The women above are tea farmers in Assam, India. In India the price of tea has dropped by 40 per cent
This is due to the fact that the three-week lockdown in India disrupted the first-flush harvest and is also disrupting the maintenance of tea bushes.
This is while African tea origins have also been hit and there has been a drop in market demand.
What are farmers across the globe doing to keep their staff safe?
As Britons continues to consume more and more produce that is source internationally, what are companies doing to make sure the food on your plate, and the workers putting it there are safe?
Columbia: Banana farmers have requested older workers to remain at home and are providing them with financial compensation
Kenya: Some flower workers have been put on paid leave
Asia: Introduced tougher health and safety measures or example provision of face masks, sanitiser and training on handwashing and physical distancing
Vietnam: Carried out awareness training
Tanzania: Raised awareness among farmers on COVID-19 causes, symptoms and prevention measures
Source: Fairtrade International
Lord Price also highlights that the demand for cotton has decreased.
‘In Bangladesh orders for clothing are down by £1.2bn and so the fair trade cotton trade has collapsed.’
This can be put down to the drop off in the retail sector. For example, in the UK the British Retail Consortium said sales were down by more than 4 per cent compared with 2019 figures.
This is while demand is also down for coffee as major retailers that stock fair trade coffee such as Costa and Greggs are no longer needed vast amounts usually required.
Global coffee prices are highly volatile right now, due to uncertainty in the commodities markets and in places like Honduras and Peru.
Movement has been severely restricted, which will impact the harvesting, transport and milling of coffees.
Lord Price added: In the UK we sell a lot of fair trade coffee through businesses like Costa and Greggs but they are not open and selling coffee so demand is going down.
‘Not only do we have problems in the UK supply chain but we are really storing up some economic challenges in these developing countries and there needs to be a global response to that’.
With places such as Greggs closed, the need for Fair Trade coffee in the UK is declining
This is while in the Philippines sugar cane producers have turned its rice crop into subsidy for farmers.
Dama Farm Workers Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association said it made the move to give their farmers more control over their lives and more financial stability.
This is while in the UK a lack of available farm workers is forcing supermarkets and other supply chains that can no longer be relied on due to a lack of production because of the pandemic.
The first of six flights carrying farm workers from Romania will arrive in the UK today, the flights have been arranged by food producers who have said the pandemic has caused an acute shortage of fruit and vegetable pickers.
Fair Trade products are sold all over the UK and producers of these items are hitting road blocks due to the coronavirus
Those arriving at Stansted today will be taken to farms in East Anglia to pick lettuces.
Firms are working closely with Public Health England and groups will be quarantined in on site accommodation and will have their temperatures checked on arrival.
One asparagus farmer in Norfolk said his usual Bulgarian workers would not be able to travel to do their work.
Will Jolly said: ’10 days ago they decided they didn’t want to come, they didn’t want to leave their family which left a big hole in our work force.
‘Unknowns are massive, we just have no idea’.
This is while other groups have said there is ‘no way’ the UK can still rely on an international supply chain.
National Farmers Union President Tom Bradshaw said: ‘There’s a real chance that we aren’t able to get these crops picked.
‘If we can’t get the crop harvested that is grown here in the UK at a time when food supply is so critical then there is no way we can rely on imported supply chains’.
This is while a fruit farm manager from Kent said he is budgeting for a quarter of his crop to go unsold this year.
MailOnline has contacted Fair Trade UK and Fair Trade International.