We have all heard about the vegetable shortages at the UK supermarkets, but what is the situation in Ireland, where they have a similar setup with retailers?
“It is the same in Dublin,” said wholesaler Justin Leonard from Jackie Leonard & Son. “It’s not as bad as in the UK, but the supermarket shelves are pretty empty in the likes of Tesco, Dunnes, Aldi, and Lidl. The cause, of course, is the same – weather in Spain and prices for contracts. This means it’s impossible to fill contracts at agreed prices due to shortages of product.”
Justin said that the growers have to get more money. They have been paid too little for too long.
“This is the underlying trend in Europe and the UK. The retailers wouldn’t commit, so glasshouse producers didn’t plant, which will prolong these current shortages. We have a product here in Ireland, but it is expensive. We are still selling out of the wholesale market but less than normal. Customers are only buying what they need for the next day; they are not stocking up on produce as they normally would.”
Justin reckons this situation will continue for a few weeks longer as the temperatures are forecast to drop below zero next week in Ireland.
“I really hope this will signal a change in the industry; growers have been calling this for a long time. They just can’t produce at the prices they get, and not every grower supplies the retailers. Consumers need to realize that fresh produce is not a loss leader in supermarkets. They need to respect fresh produce. They will happily pay two euros for a Mars bar or can of Coke but not for their veg.”
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