Tomato shortages are affecting UK supermarkets

Illustration of tomato shelf gaps

The poor weather in Europe and Africa has hampered the supply of some fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, to UK supermarkets.

Harvests had been hampered by "difficult weather conditions," according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Social media has recently been flooded with images of supermarket shelves that are empty.

There have been temporary supply issues, according to sources in the industry.

The lack of tomatoes appears to be particularly noticeable in the social media images.

In the winter, a sizable portion of the tomatoes we eat are grown in Southern Spain and Morocco. Recent weather events in both regions have had an impact, first on crop yields with warm weather and then on growth times with cold weather.

Supplies have also been impacted by the cancellation of ferries from Morocco due to bad weather.

According to BRC Director of Food and Sustainability Andrew Opie, supermarkets are "skilled at managing supply chain issues and are working with farmers to ensure that customers are able to access a wide variety of fresh produce.".

But other companies have also been impacted.

Tomato sourcing is "incredibly challenging," according to Wiltshire-based wholesaler The Heritage Fine Food Company, which supplies cafes, restaurants, and schools in the south west of England.

It claimed that peppers were failing to ripen while cucumber supplies were "extremely low.".

The Netherlands, where they are grown in sizable greenhouses, supplies some of the fruit and vegetables that the UK imports during the winter.

It is evident that the companies producing them have been adversely impacted by high energy prices, but it is unclear whether this has had an effect on supplies in the UK.

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