Why is there a vegetable shortage?
Extreme weather across southern Europe has left many crops damaged and inedible.
Flooding, cold weather and poor light conditions have created “the perfect storm” of poor growing conditions, one supplier has said.
Murcia, in south-east Spain, usually suppliers 80 per cent of Europe’s fresh produce during winter. But this season the region suffered its heaviest rainfall in 30 years, leaving only 30 per cent of its fields useable.
At the same time, a cold snap in Italy has created even more shortages of salads, citrus fruits and grapes.
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Britain imports around half of its vegetables and as much as 90 per cent of its fruit.
Dieter Lloyd, from the British Leafy Salads Association, explained: “Southern Spain provides around 80 per cent of the fresh produce for the EU out of season, so it is not just the UK.
“There are still stocks coming in, albeit at a reduced rate – I have seen it is as low as 30 to 50 per cent of what we normally have – but the challenge is we are not the only people buying it.”
Mr Lloyd warned that the situation will be persist for the rest of the season. "This won't solve itself this month or next," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
Poor weather in Murcia, Spain has left broccoli fields damaged Heavy snowfall in Europe Wed, January 11, 2017
Heavy snowfall sweeps across Europe
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The Federal Palace of Switzerland is covered in snow in the city of Bern, Switzerland
Which vegetables are affected?
This week supermarkets have been forced to ration lettuce as the vegetable crisis worsens.
Tesco and Morrison branches have limited sales of iceberg lettuces to three per customer “due to continued weather problems in Spain”.
Online, many shoppers have been told that iceberg, romaine and sweet gem varieties are completely out of stock.
Supermarkets have limited lettuce to three per customer
Many supermarket shelves are empty due to the vegetable crisis
Some supermarket chains have begun importing lettuces from US farms, causing prices to triple.
One shopper tweeted: "Just seen iceberg lettuce for £1.40 in Sainsbury's. A few months back it was 40p.”
Broccoli, butternut squash, tomatoes, aubergines and courgettes have also been affected, as well as some citrus fruits including lemons and oranges.
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