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Fresh Produce Supply Update – 27th Feb

They say a week is a long time in politics……’s got nothing on fresh produce!

Over the last week the media have certainly helped raise the profile of the challenges in fresh supply, and we would like to thank our customers for being understanding of the challenges we are facing.

Our buyer Lee has been working closely with our suppliers in Morocco to help negotiate challenges and plan for the coming weeks. He has managed to build additional security into our supply chain to ensure we give our customers the best support we can in these challenging times.

Whole head lettuce: Supply is tight on whole head lettuce (cos and baby gem in particular). We have sourced additional volume of iceberg to provide a substitution if needed.

Tomatoes: Morocco is one of the key source countries (along with Spain) for supply into the UK. Yield is down in Morocco due to the cold weather which has reduced the rate of growth and colouration on the fruit, as you can see in the pictures (we would usually see a mix of green and bright red).

In addition, the Moroccan government have put a 25% export restriction on certain varieties of tomato which further limits the available product for export. However, the weather challenges could actually be a benefit as we hope to see a flush of tomato which may reduce the amount of export restriction.

Tomato supply is a challenge and will continue to be so for the coming weeks. We will provide updates as and when we know more.

Looking a little further ahead

Asparagus: As if the weather in Europe wasn’t enough……Mexico has had snow! Our asparagus comes from Mexico at this time of year and whilst we haven’t seen any impact as yet, there may be some supply chain challenges due to the inability to harvest. This could cause a knock on effect to quality, but time will tell.

Carrots: We will need a longer period of imported carrot than normal, as the crop we are using now is what was forecasted for April. This will mean higher prices.

Leeks: Similar to carrots, UK leeks are likely to run short. This shouldn’t affect us as we have a Dutch program over this period which should protect us from any shorts.

On to the good news……

Baby leaf: After a challenging few weeks where supply has been reduced we have received our first full deliveries of baby leaf and have been advised that this should continue into the coming weeks.

Hard salads (peppers, aubergine and cucumber): Peppers will continue being either very large or very small. Aubergine have some skin scarring and cucumber shelf life is still a little shorter than normal. Positively our supply lines remain strong despite the specification adjustments.

We will continue to update when we have more information. You can follow us on social media for regular updates too.

In the meantime, please contact our team should you have any questions, to discuss your requirements or to place an order.