Prices of iceberg lettuce are on rise in the UK. Sainsbury’s and Aldi have decided to increase the prices of US-grown iceberg lettuce following the footsteps of Asda, which was the first major supermarket to hike the prices for iceberg, saying this was the “worst supply situation in the UK in decades”.
Sainsbury’s sells US-grown iceberg under the Farm Folk brand for £1.40 when discounter Aldi retails it for 78p. In some of the Aldi stores across the country, icebergs have gone out of stock following the price rise. Asda sells US icebergs under T&A brand for £1.20. The prices for icebergs have been steady for weeks and have been around 50p in almost all UK supermarkets.
There are many different reasons attributed to the shortage of iceberg lettuce, the major being the climatic catastrophe Spain has been facing for the past two months resulting in huge irreparable crop damages. One of the major exporters of iceberg lettuce, Spain has lost more than 80 percent of its yield due to the bad weather condition. Floods have washed away planted crops and turned fields into lakes. Mud has washed over level fields with crop and those fields due to be planted, have become rivers of mud.
John McCann, managing director of Irish salad packer and processor Willowbrook Foods said: The crops are 80 per cent unusable and with up to four weeks of planting missed and little or no growth happening, a disaster is unfolding. What happens next will depend on the temperatures over the coming weeks.”
The shortage is expected to last six to eight weeks, until the next produce is ready for harvest. Markets offering more money than UK for its products- Germany, Russia, Denmark- has not affected with the shortage. Other lettuce varieties also experience severe shortage which has prompted many to increase the prices of salads as well. Meanwhile, online retail prices of iceberg remained pegged at 50p.