Wholesale UK fruit & veg prices are surging as the heatwave continues to cause problems for British growers.
Four-week average UK lettuce prices for mid July are now up 21.7% year on year at 66p/unit, compared with 54p the same time last year. Warm temperatures have boosted demand for lettuce by 40% year on year, while the lack of rainfall has damaged lettuce heads, which has decreased the weight and overall quality of the produce.
Unfavourable weather conditions have also hit onion yields, with the crop expected to be 25% smaller this year. Wet weather conditions delayed the planting of onions in spring, while low rainfall and hot temperatures in June and July have put the crop under considerable stress, affecting both yield and bulb size. Currently, UK onion prices are 54.9% higher than last year at 50p/kg.
UK carrot prices, meanwhile, are up 48.6% year on year to 65p/kg following warnings from growers yields will drop by 30%-40%. Heat and low rainfall have also affected the growth of carrots, which are now being harvested in smaller sizes.
Broccoli and cauliflower prices have also surged over the past four weeks. Broccoli is currently 37% more expensive than last year at £1.44/kg, while UK cauliflower prices are up 81% year on year at £1.10/unit. Growers warn the vegetables’ heads have stopped growing due to high temperatures, meaning severe shortages of both are now expected.
Hot and dry weather conditions are also hitting production of potatoes in the UK. Currently, even areas with irrigation facilities are under pressure as water is heating up and evaporating too quickly. However, UK potato prices are currently down 10.5% at 16.8p/kg due to ample old season stocks.
Rutika Ghodekar is an analyst with Mintec