Prices of broccoli, lettuce and other vegetables double in the UK supermarket as grocers try to import fresh produce from America to replenish their empty shelves after suffering from severe short supply of leafy vegetables due to the bad weather in Spain, from where most of it was imported.
Major supermarket chains including Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s are now importing lettuce from Arizona and California after suffering supply shortage from the Mediterranean region. The UK grocers are currently getting only half of the fresh vegetables they would otherwise get from Spanish farmers.
Anthony Gardiner, marketing director for fresh food producer G’s, which supplies Tesco and Sainsbury’s, said: ‘It takes 48 hours to truck a lettuce from Spain to the UK, so it’s not that much longer to fly it from the US. Our main import is now the Yuma Valley on the Californian-Mexican border where most American lettuce is grown at this time of year. ‘It’s way more expensive to fly a product in than freight it from Spain; that’s why you’ve seen prices more than double.
Prices have skyrocketed since the shortage hit the market with some grocers selling courgettes for £1.90, which other would have cost 45p. Lettuce, normally costing 40p is now priced at £1.17. Broccoli was sold at many supermarkets for £5 per kg when its normal price was £1 per kg.
In addition, many supermarkets have stopped selling vegetables and salads through their online stores. Tesco and Morrisons have limited three iceberg lettuces per customers. Asda customers could buy 6 at a time, whereas, Coop has asked shoppers not to bulk buy. In a normal year, Spain ships more than 100,000 tonnes a month of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.