UK vegetable crisis
3 tomatoes per person – this is how supermarkets ration vegetables
UK supermarkets are rationing some vegetables and fruit due to supply problems. Tomatoes in particular are missing. Especially a problem for Italian restaurants.
At a Sainsbury’s supermarket, customers stand in front of recently empty vegetable shelves. Some stores are already rationing customers’ purchases.
Empty vegetable shelves worry consumers in the UK.
The difficult situation is now having consequences for Italian restaurants.
The causes of shortages are not limited to foreign countries.
Tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce are hard to come by in the UK at the moment. They are in supermarkets Vegetable shelves have been empty for days. The government blames bad weather in southern Europe and north Africa, while high transport costs and energy prices are contributing to the deficit.
On Monday, supermarket chain Lidl introduced sales restrictions on certain types of fruit and vegetables due to the restrictions. Customers are only allowed to buy three peppers, three tomatoes and three cucumbers. Lidl follows similar measures in Tesco, Asda or Aldi. However, at Morrisons, rationing is even stricter: shoppers are allowed to take a maximum of 2 fresh vegetables with them.
Lidl will ration tomatoes from February 27, 2023: customers can only buy 3 pieces.
Screenshot Daily Mail
“There is no light at the end of the tunnel”
Italian restaurants are also forced to ration tomatoes because, according to the Federazione Italian Cuochi UK (FIC for short), a box costs five pounds (equivalent to CHF 5.60) but 20 pounds (about CHF 22.50) . Pommerola – tomato sauce – is no better: the price of canned tomatoes has doubled from £15 to £30.
As the Guardian reports, restaurants are now planning to serve pizza without tomatoes. Some people prefer to eliminate tomatoes from their menu altogether. In general, there should be more menus without fresh vegetables, because a box of iceberg lettuce in Great Britain now costs about 22 pounds, compared to 7 pounds two weeks ago.
FIC chairman Enzo Oliveri blamed Brexit for rising costs and “very difficult” times for Italian restaurants. He fears some may leave the business. “I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel,” says Oliveri. Calling on the government to control the price of tomatoes, he said, ‘If the costs increase, we have a problem. Can’t count margins anymore.” There are already places offering “white pizza” and “white sauces for pasta”.
“Principle of Legs and Turnips”
Many catering companies are currently unprofitable, notes Carmelo Carnevale, president of the Italian Culinary Federation. “It’s very stressful for us, especially since our tomatoes are imported from Italy twice a week. As an Italian restaurant, we advertise with the slogan ‘Made in Italy’. We have to keep our identity without compromising quality. But we can’t raise prices,” he said.
While the British government continues to blame unusually cold weather in overseas growing areas, industry insiders accuse London of a cabbage and turnip policy. For example, after the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine, he excluded vegetable producers from energy subsidies, despite rising electricity and gas prices.
For example, using greenhouses to grow tomatoes is no longer effective in winter. “They don’t plant much stuff here anymore because it’s uneconomical,” Adam Leyland, editor-in-chief of The Grocer, told the BBC. The result: Great Britain imports 95 percent of its tomatoes in winter. But now only a quarter of the goods ordered in Spain or Morocco have arrived.
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