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Bad weather in Spain results in price increases for fruit and veg


July 15, 2017

The UK food industry highly depends on Spain for its fresh produce during the winter. This years’ harvest has been greatly affected by the unexpected cold weather and heavy rains that has caused flooding and resulted in a poor harvest, leading to shortages of many fruits and vegetables by as much as 20 percent from Spain, and 50-60 percent from Italy.

Murcia in Spain, in particular has had its highest rainfall in 30 years and is estimated to supply approximately 80% of Europe's fresh produce during the winter. This shortage has resulted in increased food prices, particularly of green vegetables, and fruit.

The UK is the largest importer of Spanish fruit and vegetables, importing goods worth approximately 20 billion pounds each year. As Spain has persistently experienced bad weather, this has resulted in an increase in food prices, which is evident by the increasing food costs in supermarkets. Particularly affected are broccoli and cucumbers, which have seen their prices double compared to this time last year, and courgettes are now three-times more, with lettuce four-times compared to 2016 levels.

All the crops that could not withstand the cold weather withered away. While Spain supplies most of the vegetables to the UK, the short supply affected prices. To balance the equilibrium, wholesale and retail food prices had to go up.

Spain still feels the impact of the heavy rainfall, after receiving four times more than the usual amount in this region. Therefore, unless the food industry finds an alternative supplier of fruit and vegetables, the prices will keep rising until the next successful Spanish harvest. UK suppliers and companies are now forced to source their fresh produce from non-EU countries to help balance these high food costs.