Europe: Vegetable Shortages Due To Weather

(Reuters) British supermarkets have taken to rationing shoppers to three iceberg lettuces per visit after bad weather hit growing conditions in Spain, leading to a shortage in supplies that is set to continue through to March.

Tesco (TSCO.L), Morrisons (MRW.L) and Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) have all imposed restrictions on bulk purchases after production in Spain was hit by crop damage from flooding late last year followed by unusually cold weather last month.

The limited supply of lettuces follows a continuing shortage of courgettes in Britain. Supplies of broccoli and aubergines have also been limited.

The shortages add to the problems for UK supermarkets who are already facing inflationary pressures as a result of the weaker pound since Britons voted to leave the European Union last year.

Vegetable production in the EU is at 60 percent of the normal level due to bad weather affecting producers right across the Mediterranean, from Greece to Spain, the Spanish Federation of Associations of Producers and Exporters of Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers and Live Plants (FEPEX) said.

Exports from Spain, which accounts for around half of EU vegetable exports, have fallen by around 30 percent although this varies by crop.

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