Shoppers could soon be left without sweetcorn for tuna sandwiches as suppliers warn of looming shortages and higher prices for the canned product.
A year ago there was a significant volume of carryover sweetcorn available but following lower-than-expected harvests last August, supplies are now tight.
April's warm weather has exacerbated the situation with high demand for sweetcorn for salads.
Yields from Hungary which makes up 13% of the UK's canned imports are expected to be down when the season starts in August following flooding in the country.
"With at least four months to go before new season European sweetcorn is available, the scarcity is likely to become more acute in the summer," warned Henry Amar, chairman of wholesaler RH Amar. There was likely to be no stock carryover into next season, he added.
Thailand, which makes up about 30% of UK canned sweetcorn imports, is increasing its sales to Asian markets such as South Korea, a factor set to impact UK supply in the long term. Amar had decided not to pitch for tenders it might otherwise have pursued because of concerns over securing enough stock going forward.
The company had already experienced price increases of 18% on canned sweetcorn over the past year and predicted that further double-digit increases could lie ahead.
The UK imports about 64,000 tonnes of sweetcorn annually 10% of the world's canned sweetcorn by volume.
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