Why is Britain experiencing a Tomato Shortage?

Britain is experiencing a tomato shortage, with supermarkets rationing them. But why is that? We explore this.

Why is Britain experiencing a Tomato Shortage f


"we should be able to get that supply back in."

Britain is experiencing a tomato crisis as a result of disturbed harvests in southern Europe and North Africa that cut into supplies to supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

According to supermarkets, the problem was made worse by lower winter output in greenhouses in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom due to high energy prices.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents the main supermarkets, is led by Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability.

He claimed that adverse weather conditions in southern Europe and northern Africa have impacted several crops, including tomatoes and peppers.

Andrew Opie said: “While disruption is expected to last a few weeks, supermarkets are adept at managing supply chain issues and are working with farmers to ensure that customers can access a wide range of fresh produce.”

Pictures of bare produce shelves in supermarkets have been all over social media, with tomatoes in especially in limited supply.

Despite being generally self-sufficient in the summer, BRC statistics say Britain regularly imports 90% of its lettuce and 95% of its tomatoes from December to March.

Farming producers from Spain also voiced their worry.

The Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producers’ Organisations of Almeria, Coexphal, released a statement in which it stated that “the situation is beginning to be worrying, as some companies are starting to have problems meeting their clients’ schedules”.

Poor Weather Conditions

Extreme weather in Spain and North Africa has had a negative impact on supply, according to James Bailey, executive director of upscale grocer Waitrose.

He told LBC Radio that “it’s been snowing and hailing in Spain, and it was hailing in North Africa last week — it is wiping off a large proportion of those crops”.

He added that availability should gradually increase.

He said: “Give it about a fortnight and the other growing seasons in other parts of the world will have caught up and we should be able to get that supply back in.”

According to a spokeswoman for Asda, the third-largest supermarket in Britain, there are some problems on a few lines, mostly those that deal with tomatoes.

Even yet, not every variety of fresh tomatoes was still available at the grocery shop.

According to a Marks & Spencer representative, the company was not immune to the supply problems but has taken steps to reduce them by sourcing from other expanding areas.

With the exception of eggs, availability increased before Christmas 2022 after supply difficulties brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In January 2023, to lower domestic costs and safeguard exports to Europe, Morocco banned the shipment of tomatoes, onions, and potatoes to West African nations.

Ilsa is a digital marketeer and journalist. Her interests include politics, literature, religion and football. Her motto is “Give people their flowers whilst they’re still around to smell them.”

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