With the rage over the horsemeat scandal seemingly beginning to subside, we thought it was time to take a look back and ask ‘what does all of this mean?’ and, more importantly, ‘does anyone actually really care?’
The last quarter has been a turbulent one in most markets due to adverse weather conditions, particularly in the US. Pork prices hit a high in December of 13.4% after a period of relative lows from July to October. Beef has seen a steady decline since a peak in May finishing at a low of 6.8% representing an overall drop of 3.8% from December 2011. Dairy prices have moved back up after plummeting in August and finish the year at 0.9% whilst Fish and Cereal prices have fluctuated significantly, finishing on 4.5% and 2.9% respectively. Overall, however, the total RPI has remained fairly constant ending the year on 3.1% and maintaining a year average of 3.6%.
“Older people shouldn’t eat health food”, joked the American comedy writer Robert Orben. “They need all the preservatives they can get.” Of course, in reality, good nutrition brings numerous benefits. It can increase mental acuteness, help prevent illness, promote higher energy levels, and help to foster a positive outlook. The list is endless, and very encouraging from an employer’s perspective. After all, a happy and healthy (ageing) workforce translates into a happy, healthy and more productive organisation.
The grain and cereals markets have experienced a rise in price since their low of 1.5% in July, however, these figures are yet to account for droughts across the US Corn Belt that have downgraded maize forecasts meaning that a much greater increase in prices is expected. Elsewhere, EU milk production has continued to fall seasonally, leading to a rise in dairy product prices.
What we eat has a big impact on our performance at work – from mental clarity, to energy, stamina and productivity, food governs how well our bodies and brains function. Food makes our mood. Yet food at work is too often seen as an afterthought by employers and is a missed opportunity to increase productivity and morale. Staff restaurants typically offer unhealthy selections while vending machines are stocked with sugary and fatty snacks. Employers’ workplace programmes focus on wellness – getting people fitter – and how healthy employers take less time off work. But ensuring your employees are eating the right foods is about increasing presenteeism — employees being fully engaged, energised and mentally focused on the task in hand not sitting slumped at their desks.