Soaring demand for red seedless grapes is creating major supply shortages and could lead to a rise in prices.

Red grapes have traditionally held a 20% share of the seedless market but that is heading towards the US average of 50%, according to Capespan trading director Martin Dunnett.

"Red seedless grapes are a huge growth area and the value has gone up as supply has become short," said Dunnett. "People have now realised red grapes are seedless. This has exposed holes in supply."

The varieties coming from the southern hemisphere, in particular from Chile and South Africa, had created a head of steam that hadn't been fulfilled from sources in the northern hemisphere, he said.

This had led to fluctuations in availability that won't be resolved until big volumes of South African and Namibian fruit arrive in the new year. "There should be enough to fulfil demand, but for a higher price, with as much as £3.99 being asked," said Dunnett.