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Fresh product from Spain and Morocco

Poor weather causing shortages of fresh produce imported from Morocco and Spain. Click to see the full list of products affected.

Fresh product from Spain and Morocco

The UK heavily relies on imports for fruit and vegetables through our winter season with Spain and North Africa accounting for a significant portion of this. However, extreme weather including snow and temperatures reaching as low as -15c in these regions have resulted in the empty shelves you will no doubt have seen across the supermarkets this week. In measures described as ‘precautionary’, 4 major supermarkets across the UK are limiting purchases on certain lines such as cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes.

All crops are suffering, including protected crops, from quality issues, reductions in size and major reductions in yields. The effects of this are expected to last for up to a month, according to the environment secretary. Potentially until the UK growing season commences and alternative sources of produce are available.

The The aforementioned frosts and temperatures are causing difficult availability challenges on many key lines, including:

Spinach, wild rocket, cos, iceberg and gem lettuce, lollo rosso, lollo biondo, oak leaf, peppers, cucumbers, most varieties of tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, raspberries, baby spinach, wild rocket and coriander.

The situation is so dire, it's been reported that the following shortfalls in crop production across the continent: tomatoes -35%, cucumbers -50%, aubergines -35%, courgettes -40% and peppers -40%.

In addition to the shortfall on crops, suppliers are also having to turn stock away that does no meet the quality standards required. It is understood that the UK retailers are visiting suppliers this week with the instruction to ‘get what they need’ which is likely to keep pricing at challenging levels for the whole industry through the coming weeks.

The severe weather has not only had a direct impact on the crops, but it has also impacted the transportation of the product. Over a 4–5-day period, hundreds of lorries were blocked near Tangier, close to the ferry port in Morocco due to heavy winds and rough sea conditions.

This period of erratic weather has been supported by erratic temperatures in the UK, which have been doing little to support the growth of domestic product. The period of poor weather that we have experienced, has also created shortages on native products such as cabbages, carrots, cauliflower and parsnips.

It is important to remember that the current shortages and price rises are a direct result of climate change and not the inflation we have been experiencing elsewhere. We will continue to monitor the situation alongside our supply chain and keep you updated as the situation develops.

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