Shortfall set to hit prices Before Christmas there were expectations that tomato prices would rise about mid January due to some renegotiated contracts, as a result of the massive shortfall in last year's Italian pack. So far, there have been no reports of retailers passing on the higher costs but one source told The Grocer: "I expect shelf prices to increase in February. No one wants to be the first to move." Getting to the facts in the tomato business is notoriously difficult, as the business is in few hands and price negotiations are confidential. Pre-season contracts were placed by retailers in the normal way but the pack shortfall of 40% caused serious problems for canners as field prices soared. At the time, sources in Naples talked of the need for re-negotiations to avoid financial catastrophe. Since then no-one has been prepared to comment.There will no doubt have been serious attempts to resolve issues amicably ­ particularly now that some alliances have been formed between larger UK food companies and the larger, more responsible tomato canners. {{CANNED GOODS }}