Fresh produce shortage hits UK as Brits weigh costs of relying on foreign supply

Big supermarkets have also been affected by the unfavourable weather, which has led to fewer lorry loads of vegetables crossing the English Channel.

Lea Valley Growers Association secretary Lee Stiles said the ongoing shortage could have been avoided if supermarkets had decided to invest in local growers instead of relying on other countries.

It was a strategy that worked last year when the weather conditions were good, but this year is different, he said.

“The crops in Spain and Morocco, which are grown under plastic without any heating simply stopped growing, which means we’re only getting around a quarter of the volume of the produce we’d normally get at this time of year from those areas,” he said.

Demand is also outstripping supply in Italy, a nation that exports 60 per cent of its tomatoes, driving prices up and profits down.

“There isn’t much produce available, there’s very little. A lot of things aren’t ripe yet, probably because of the weather,” said one grocer.

However, many are questioning whether it is more than just bad weather that is causing the chaos.

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