Due to supply shortages, the United Kingdom’s largest supermarket chains have set limits on the purchase of certain fresh produce, including tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.
Morrisons set a limit of two packs of tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and peppers per person. Asda has imposed restrictions on eight fresh produce lines, including broccoli, cauliflower, raspberries and lettuce, limiting them to three products per person.
Tesco and Aldi have also limited purchases of peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes to just three packs per person.
British and Dutch growers have reduced their supply due to the higher energy costs required to heat greenhouses, and northern European countries have also decreased production following the rise of energy and fertilizer costs due to the war in Ukraine.
2. Poor weather conditions
At this time of year, the UK relies mainly on Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt to import much of its fresh produce. However, these crops have been affected by unusually cold weather, including heavy night frosts, while tomato crops have also been affected or even destroyed by diseases, such as the Tomato Brown Rugose Virus.
3. Increase in imports
This year, some retailers opted to increase imports of produce from Spain and North Africa in an attempt to reduce their costs, which has left them vulnerable to food shortages.
4. Changes in agricultural cycles
Tomato and lettuce growers in the UK have delayed sowing in recent months due to economic uncertainty, meaning that local production will not be able to compensate for shortages for several weeks.
5. Low local yields
UK farm output has fallen to its lowest level since records began in 1985, according to National Farmers Union (NFU) president Minette Batters.
Given the situation in the UK, it is important to consider how retailers can strengthen their fresh produce supply chains:
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Sources: The Guardian, CNN, BBC
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