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Belgium. Beer: prices on rise also in 2022

And the future won't be brighter, even at European level

World production is expected to fall by 16% (and double the price) if global warming continues at the current rate.

Beer prices will rise again in Belgium also in the new year: both the multinational AB InBev and Alken-Maes (Belgian brewery in the hands of Carlsberg and Heineken) are already announcing further increases. It remains to be seen how these increases will be spread to the various actors along the supply chain. Logically, merchants will push to make sure their customers don't end up paying the entire bill, an event that appears very remote in an industry that has already been brought to its knees by Covid for almost two years.

Over the past decade, the price of beer, which in Belgium is a national drink, has increased by an average of 2.5% per year, but between March 2020 and March 2021, the increase was 4.4%. Both AB InBev and Alken-Maes justify their decision with the sharp increase in production costs, a major concern of many food companies not only in Belgium at the moment.

At the launch of its new roadmap for the sustainability of the sector, the Belgian Federation of the Food Industry highlighted the recent increases in the price of natural gas (+ 411%), plastic packaging (+ 22%), aluminum (+ 46%), cardboard (+ 17%), wooden pallets (+ 133%) and container transport (+ 144%). All voices that can have an impact on the beer industry, even at a European level; in particular energy, of which the sector is a large consumer. And then there is the increase in the price of raw materials.

Last year's bad weather in Belgium had a major impact on grain production, and barley malt, which is needed for beer production, has not escaped this situation. In fact, between 2020 and 2021, its price in the country increased by more than 20%. The future is therefore far from bright: heat waves, heavy rains, droughts, all extreme weather events that are likely to increase in the coming decades due to climate change, reducing barley production with an opposite effect on beer prices.

According to a study published in the journal Nature, if global warming continues at its current rate, world beer production could decline by 16% in the future, possibly doubling the price. To report it today is Ice from Brussels on Gondola.

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EFA News - European Food Agency
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