Advance knowledge of weather changes or extreme weather events can make a huge difference in the day-to-day success of the food and beverage retail sector, especially with perishable or seasonal goods, according to a study by Met Office.
In a survey of the top 25 CEOs in the UK, weather was listed as one of the most important external factors influencing consumer behavior in 2014.
In addition, food waste has become an increasingly important issue for retailers. According to food waste prevention experts, in 2013 total waste by UK grocery companies was estimated to have cost £4.2 billion ($7.2 billion), with fresh and chilled foods accounting for 90 percent of the waste being sent to landfills.
There are, however, some companies that have been actively working to recycle food waste to keep it out of landfills.
The effect of weather changes on the sales of seasonal products can also be seen statistically:
- A 10 degree Celsius rise on a summer weekend can mean customers want 300 percent more barbecue meat and 50 percent more coleslaw. However, demand for green vegetables will fall by 25 percent.
- When the weather turns extremely cold, hot chocolate and bird seed are in high demand. Similarly, when the weather turns hot, sales of strawberries can increase by 20 percent.
- During the first weekend of a hot spell, sales of hair removal cream can go up 1,400 percent as women start wearing skirts with bare legs.
While retailers have no power over the weather, they can minimize the negative impact of it on their sales by tracking weather conditions and making certain that the right products are on the shelves at the right time.
With this in mind, Met Office is launching DemandMet this month, a tailored weather forecasting service that can help improve product forecasting and, as a result, product availability. DemandMet will include a national forecast, a 14 day regional forecast, an executive summary, forecaster advice and weather warnings and alerts.