The last week saw retailers put limits on certain fresh produce lines, as a first step in rationing. The first to face restrictions were cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes however we are now seeing lettuces, raspberries and cauliflowers being added to what appears to be an ever-growing list.
Why are we being hit by shortages?
There is no one set reason as such but more a combination of factors. The UK and Europe have seen a dramatic reduction as a result in harvest as a result of poor weather conditions. Combined with rising energy bills as a consequence of the Ukrainian war has meant farmers have felt the strain, reducing greenhouse usage.
With capabilities for British farmers to meet demand the UK has had to look further afield to African countries such as Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt as well as warmer European countries like Spain. The problem here is that these countries have also had much cooler weather than normal resulting in intense night frosts, consequently killing crops.
How long will the shortages last?
It is expected that consumers will only be seeing the consequences for a couple of weeks, 2-4 more weeks. During this time the UK growing season is expected to take an uptick with warmer weather on the horizon. Supermarkets will also be better equipped to deal with the situation with a number of alternatives set to be put in place.
How are things going at the presser?
Poor weather means more and more wonky produce! With supermarkets still set on strict criteria when it comes to appearance and size we are seeing more and more unusual curvy cucumbers of all shapes and sizes. Whilst we may still feel the hit, we will continue to find the oddest of produce out there, don’t worry we’ve still got a Dulce Verde with your name on it!