Britons could face a shortage of salads this year, according to a new report yesterday.
Suppliers are scrambling to secure alternative supplies to try to avoid a repeat of last year’s vegetable crisis as frosts in Spain are currently causing widespread shortages.
Trade magazine The Grocer reported that a January cold snap has hit vegetable supplies coming out of southern Spain – further worsening growing conditions in a season already hit by one of the worst droughts on record.
Grower body ASAJA Alicante said that lack of water had left vegetable crops vulnerable to frost. It said the association’s members had lost up to 1,000 hectares of growing areas – mainly lettuce, artichoke and broccoli – with the region harvesting 25per cent less than in 2016.
Suppliers are scrambling to secure alternative supplies to try to avoid a repeat of last year’s vegetable crisis as frosts in Spain are currently causing widespread shortages
Commodity analysts Mintec said that the shortage had seen wholesale prices of iceberg lettuce from Alicante, Murcia and Algeria rise 50 per cent in a four-week period between December 2017 and January 2018.
Analyst Rutika Ghodekar said the poor growing conditions had ‘ resulted in a shortage of lettuce in most EU countries, making the situation equal or even worse than the year before. ‘
Jonathan Olins, managing director of Poupart Imports, told The Grocer that his business was already feeling the effect of shortages of crops such as lettuce, with wholesale prices up as much as 20per cent on produce from affected regions.
Commodity analysts said the shortage had seen wholesale prices of iceberg lettuce rise 50 per cent in a four-week period between December 2017 and January 2018
‘But from our side, there is resistance from buyers to paying the higher prices so we have had to reduce the volumes were are bringing in ‘ he said.
The Grocer reported that, fortunately, unlike last year, frost and snow have not spread across the Mediterranean. With cold conditions contained in Spain, salad brand Florette said it was sourcing from other regions.
A Florette spokesman told the magazine: ‘ To mitigate the risk in southern Spain we have moved some supply to other areas of our grower network including north Africa, southern France and northern Spain. ‘
But wholesaler Reynolds warned that the drought was ongoing. Marketing director Andy Weir told The Grocer: ‘ Market prices are high and overall availability is reduced. It is quite likely that as we approach the end of the Spanish leaf season that, if rainfall levels do not improve, availability will tighten further. ‘