LONDON (Reuters) – Britons are facing a shortage of tomatoes after supermarket supplies, including at market leader Tesco and No. 2 Sainsbury’s, were impacted by disrupted harvests in southern Europe and North Africa.
Warmer weather in these regions that affected crop yields was followed by recent cooler weather leading to longer growth times.
“Difficult weather conditions in the South of Europe and Northern Africa have disrupted harvest for some fruit and vegetables including tomatoes,” Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, which represents the major supermarket groups, said on Monday.
“However, supermarkets are adept at managing supply chain issues and are working with farmers to ensure that customers are able to access a wide range of fresh produce,” he said.
Last year Britain’s grocers suffered supply chain disruptions due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but availability was much improved in the run-up to Christmas, with an exception being eggs.
In winter, Britain has typically imported around 90% of crops like cucumbers and tomatoes, but has been nearly self-sufficient in the summer.
Britain is particularly reliant during the winter on Morocco and Spain.
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alex Richardson)