A new NFU survey indicates that the 2022 fruit and vegetable harvest has been significantly impacted because there aren’t enough laborers. The survey results show that £22 million worth of fruit and vegetables has been wasted directly because of workforce shortages in the first half of 2022 alone.
As the survey represents around a third of the UK horticulture sector, the NFU estimates the overall value of food wasted accumulates to more than £60 million. The results demonstrate the detrimental impact workforce shortages are having on the food and farming sector, resulting in significant crop losses at a time when the country is experiencing the worst cost-of-living crisis in generations.
NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw said: “It’s nothing short of a travesty that quality, nutritious food is being wasted at a time when families across the country are already struggling to make ends meet because of soaring living costs."
“At the same time, the prolonged dry weather and record temperatures have created a really challenging growing environment for our fruit and veg. Every crop is valuable – to the farm business and to the people whose plates they fill. We simply can’t afford to be leaving food unpicked."
The trade body warned that that overall amount of wasted food could in fact be far higher - potentially in the region of £60m- worth - given respondents to the survey only represent around a third of the UK's horticulture sector.