Vegetable shortages and supply delays stemming from snowy weather and low temperatures in Italy and Spain took their toll on the German produce market in the first two months of 2017, according to recent household surveys.
And as the laws of supply and demand often dictate, even though consumers had a lower volume of fresh vegetables at their disposal they spent more than they used to overall.
Bonn-based Agricultural Market Information Company (AMI) reports a Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK – Association for Consumer Research) household panel showed vegetable purchases by volume were down 6% year-on-year in January and February.
More specifically, zucchini and eggplant purchases were down 30%, tomato purchases fell by 17% and cucumbers dropped by 10%.
Meanwhile, broccoli sales decreased by 18% for the period, and iceberg lettuce purchases were 38% lower.
“The shortage led to a sharp rise in consumer prices. Overall, consumers spent 13% more in the first two months than in the previous year,” AMI said.
The company reported there were however some affordable alternatives early in the year, as domestic carrot stores had not been affected by the inclement weather of the Mediterranean.
The drop in Iceberg lettuce supply also boosted volume sales of Chinese cabbage, also known as Napa cabbage, with a six-year high in retail movement at 7,500 metric tonnes (MT).
Additionally, the more weather-independent mushroom sector was able to keep production steady and fill some gaps left by scarcity for other vegetables.