7 Foods that may Become Extinct

By SME Insurance

Posted 06/07/17

Since the beginning of the year supermarkets and grocers have struggled to stock certain vegetables. Supplies of courgette, spinach and iceberg lettuce have all been limited as poor weather in Spain and Italy has yielded few crops this year [1]. As global warming continues to impact our seasons, what other foods could we expect to see less of?

1. Apples

Last year was a poor year for the apple harvest. According to the industry body English Apples and Pears, crops were down 6% whilst demand increased by 4%. This means that prices will inevitably begin to rise as supermarkets look to import apples from places like New Zealand to meet demand [2].

2. Avocado

Avocados require huge amounts of water to grow; it takes 72 gallons of water to make just one pound of avocado! 80% of avocados are grown in California where droughts are common so the fruit is becoming harder to grow and therefore the prices are likely to get expensive [3].

3. Chocolate

We’re consuming chocolate at a much faster rate than it can be produced. In 2015 the world ate around 70,000 metric tons more of cocoa than was produced. By 2020 this figure is expected to reach 1 million and by 2030, 2 million. What’s more, West Africa produces 70% of the world’s cocoa and is experiencing a combination of rising temperatures and a fungal disease which destroys crops [4].

4. Seafood

Over fishing is becoming a serious problem. Not so long ago cod was heavily overfished which led to cod and chips coming off the menu in some restaurants and takeaways and replaced by other types of fish like haddock and X. This is an ongoing problem and if one particular research is to be believed, by 2048 there will be no more fish in the oceans [5]. Research leader Boris Worm told the BBC website that "what we're highlighting is there is a finite number of stocks; we have gone through one-third, and we are going to get through the rest" [6]. The report goes on to say that a greater use of protected areas could safeguard existing stock. However, in recent years the cod population has increased which just goes to show that a change in fishing practices can make a big difference.

5. Coffee

The majority of coffee is made from Arabica beans which grow best between temperatures of 17 and 21 degrees Celsius. However, as global warming continues, the taste of these beans (and ultimately of coffee) will first be affected. If temperatures rise above 21 degrees Celsius, the plants ripen too quickly which can affect the taste and therefore the overall yield of quality coffee beans may be affected as a result. This could have could have worldwide economic ramifications for the coffee industry as, in 2015, the UK spent £7.9bn in coffee shops [7].

6. Almonds

Global warming is having a huge impact on the bee population which in turn, could affect our food. Almonds and pumpkins are both entirely dependent on bees to pollinate their flowers so without bees, both of these foodstuffs will quickly die out [8].

7. Corn

A decline in corn yields could potentially have the biggest effect on the food we eat. Corn needs a lot of water and just the right temperatures to grow. So much so that a global rise in temperature of just 1 Celsius would slow the rate of corn growth by 7%. This would subsequently impact meat production as most livestock, particularly in the US, are corn fed. As a result of less corn being available, prices may increase and farmers could suffer financially [9].


[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38666752
[2] http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/supermarkets-set-another-fresh-food-12771435
[3] http://www.thisisinsider.com/foods-that-may-go-extinct-2016-6/#avocados-1
[4] http://www.thisisinsider.com/foods-that-may-go-extinct-2016-6/#chocolate-7
[5] http://www.thisisinsider.com/foods-that-may-go-extinct-2016-6/#fish-4
[6] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6108414.stm
[7] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/12048234/Coffee-shops-stir-7.9bn-into-market-as-cafe-culture-dominates.html
[8] http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/when-bees-go-extinct-these-foods-will-follow/
[9] https://www.theguardian.com/vital-signs/2014/oct/29/diet-climate-maple-syrup-coffee-global-warming


Posted 06/07/17

Author: SME Insurance

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