Dutch consumers are facing increasingly high prices for out of season fruit and vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli and lettuce, with €3.50 the norm for a cauliflower in some supermarkets.
A combination of high gas prices which have prompted domestic greenhouse growers to plant fewer crops and bad weather affecting supply from Morocco and Spain has impacted availability, Gerard van den Akker of produce auction Bilthoven told broadcaster NOS.
‘We are afraid that things won’t get better in the future because of the limits on energy and because of new rules on crop protection methods which will also affect availability. Some produce will become very expensive or not available at all. We have been very spoilt,’ Van den Akker said.
Meanwhile consumers are leaving the more expensive vegetables to one side and are concentrating on the ones that are in season, such as leeks, and Brussels sprouts. ‘They’re cheaper. Not to everyone’s taste but we like them,’ one supermarket customer told the broadcaster.
Some supermarkets have put limits on the amount of veg one customer can buy because of the lack of availability, which, according to sector organisation GroentenFruit Huis, has fallen by 25% to 50%.
Not all supermarkets are upping their prices, however, a spokesman for the organisation told RTL.
‘Some supermarkets have made deals about volume and prices beforehand. Other will have to buy in a market where prices are high,’ he said. GroentenFruit Huis says prices for Spanish imports will fall in the short term and national production will grow as warmer weather approaches.
While vegetable prices are high all over the globe, British consumers are increasingly faced with empty shelves despite rationing. The Netherlands is traditionally an importer of produce to the UK but high energy prices have meant that supply has been falling short as well. A cold snap and frost before Christmas also damaged field crops including cauliflower, cabbage and carrots, the Guardian said.
While most farmers do not blame Brexit as a reason for the empty shelves, some importers have argued that additional costs and bureaucracy created by Brexit have put the UK at the back of queue for supplies from European producers. Paperwork can cause delays at the border – a particular issue with perishable produce.
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