Imports of New Zealand onions to the UK are plunging, said Bob Smith, director of importer the Holus Bureau.
NZ onions traditionally fill the summer gap between the end of the English season and the start of new autumn crop, but growers here are extending the season with dramatically improved storage techniques, leaving less of a market for imports.
Smith said there would only be four vessels arriving from New Zealand, with the first due yesterday. In previous years, the number of vessels has been double that.
He added: “The quality in New Zealand is excellent - the best for quite a while. But the gaps available for both New Zealand and Tasmania are continuing to get shorter, and fewer onions are being grown.”
In the UK, growers are reporting a good season in spite of last year’s wet summer. There were fears the rainy conditions would affect curing and lead to stocks being short, but these have proved unfounded.
Jonathan Tremayne, chairman of the British Onion Producers’ Association, said: “We were pessimistic, but English onions should be available until May - only about a week less than last year.”