Tight supply has pushed the wholesale price of lemons 30% higher than the seasonal norm and could force them even higher.

Upwards of £10 is being charged for a 15kg carton and this could reach £12 per case by Christmas, according to Capespan marketing director Martin Dunnett.

"Argentina is a big supplier but the country didn't ship the volume that was expected this year because of quality issues," he said.

"Turkey usually fills a four to six-week gap with good volumes and provides good availability for the next two to three weeks, but they have lost more than 50% of their Interdonato lemons, so record high prices are being fetched in wholesale."

Supplies of two Spanish lemons, prima fiori and verna, are also facing

disruption from wet weather, keeping availability tight until well into the new year.

If retailers respond to the cost rises, shelf prices could rise from the current 19p per fruit to 25p.