Vegetable scarcity is hitting hard at the European supermarket industry with a sales fall of approximately £8million, market experts say. The sales of leafy vegetables have fallen by almost half since the first week of January. Courgette sales fell 58 per cent.
Scarcity of leafy vegetables and skyrocketing prices in the UK supermarkets has made salads dearer than ever. Farmers and wholesalers in the country are urging shoppers to promote British seasonal vegetables over the imported ones, with British grown Kale, leeks and cabbage available in abundance.
The storm and the cold wave that struck Europe last January have slowed the production of vegetables and caused a dearth of these products in some markets of the continent, which has motivated in recent weeks a price carousel. According to the Spanish agricultural business group Asaja Malaga, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Spain have also reduced their harvests of lettuce, courgettes, aubergines, green beans or artichokes.
Over the past month the value of these products at source that are paid to farmers would soar on average between 50% and 70%. With fresh produce like zucchini that came to cost triple (from one to three euros a kilo). However, since the last week of last month the trend seems to have receded and even sensitive declines have been detected up to 60%, with eggplant and again zucchini as the most affected.
“The harvest in countries like Italy and Turkey has been affected badly. Spain being less affected has more demand for its products from the foreign market and the domestic market,” said Benjamín Faulí, general secretary of Asaja Málaga. The cold has not stopped production, but it has certainly slowed the growth and size of vegetables, which in the end is leaving about 20% less product than usual. All this has influenced the market, “he added.