UK’s extreme weather threatens fresh availability
The availability of fresh vegetables for independent retailers is at risk following extreme weather conditions earlier in the summer.
In an internal message sent to retailers about the availability of fresh, Nisa confirmed it will only deliver 20% to 30% of Heritage and Co-op broccoli and cauliflower until the end of September.
This year’s supply of Heritage cherries has ended completely, while Co-op asparagus had been in short supply until this week.
A Costcutter spokesperson added the company is prepared to support retailers in the event of any shortages. “This is not the first time cauliflower producers have encountered such difficulties, and while there are no shortages for cauliflowers at the moment, this could change in the coming weeks,” they said.
“If this does happen, then we will work with our supply partners as we normally do to ensure we secure the best possible prices that help our retailers remain competitive in the market.”
However, Andy Morrison, trading director at Dee Bee Wholesale, warned that independent retailers’ low fresh volumes means multiples and foodservice are likely to get better access to whatever stock is available. He said: “Very few retailers stock fruit and vegetables, and they are missing out on the fresh opportunity. A lot of retailers avoid fresh because they’re scared of waste and have few resources to manage it. The multiples are at an advantage because that’s where the volume and demand ends up.
“This is complicated by poor supply routes – there are small deliveries that are expensive to execute for suppliers and there are minimum volume requirements.”
According to British Growers Association CEO Jack Ward, produce such as cauliflower, sprouts and cabbages are at the highest risk. “June saw record amounts of rainfall in Lincolnshire. This resulted in flooded and damaged crops, which has led to a shortening of supply,” he said.
“Crops can withstand a reasonable amount of variation in weather, but the conditions in June were too much. As a result, crops have suffered and this is leading to a shortage of supply.”
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