Europe: Soaring prices for Iceberg lettuce due to a lack of offer

A huge decrease in Spanish supplies of Iceberg lettuce is determining a gap in the offer of this product on the European market, with prices going up suddenly at 10 Euro and more per package (9-10 heads).

A Sicilian operator says: "We expected problems in supply in this period. Here in Sicily the yield is clearly lower than last year, even if our volumes are not absolutely comparable with the much higher Spanish ones."

Weather conditions are the main reason for the lack of product. The heavy storms in late September had an influence in Spain. As for Sicily, the ongoing heat in autumn was the main factor. "We recorded temperatures of 30 °C till a few days ago!" the operator says.

Leafy vegetables were the first to be affected by abnormal temperatures: "Compared to planted crops, we are harvesting 50% less. As for Iceberg lettuce, parts of the heads cannot close completely, making lettuces lighter and resulting in a very low yield per hectare. Other leafy vegetables experienced a more worrying situation, entering in their 'flowering' phase (abnormal for this period of the year)and run the risk of being unmarketable."

Regarding the price level, the operator concludes: "What is going on is not a speculative move. Prices are soaring due to a real lack of product. At the moment these prices can only partly compensate the production loss due to bad weather. It is difficult to say how much this growing trend will go on as no temperature change occurred already."

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