An untimely combination of adverse weather and price surges is leading to a shortage of fresh produce and a “salad crisis” in the UK, The Guardian reports.
The publication states that February’s consumer prices index (CPI) rose to 10.4%, driven by rising costs in items such as drinks, eating out and fresh food.
Poor weather conditions have hindered harvests in Europe and North Africa, making fresh produce less available for consumers and thus increasing prices.
The cost of vegetables alone rose by 18% last month, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Additionally, the energy crisis, which saw many growers facing economic hardship and even bankruptcy in 2022, also impacted production throughout Europe as greenhouse-grown produce has become practically unsustainable.
Countries such as Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia, which produce about 80% of many salad and vegetable crops sold in the UK, all experienced colder than normal temperatures in January, driving costs even higher and reducing crops.
Importers have also quoted Brexit as a factor, as costs and paperwork involved in shipping to the UK have slowed the process of providing products in short supply.
Shortages have reached a point where retailers such as Tesco and Aldi began limiting purchases of raspberries, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.