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UK: Weather has made for disastrous cauliflower season

It has not been a good time for vegetable growers in the UK for the last couple of years and last winter was particularly bad for Cauliflowers. The supply was either full on or nothing due to the unseasonal weather.

"We have now had a gap for the last 6-8 weeks," explains Julian Pitts, director of Veg UK. "Now we have crop just waiting to come on but the cold weather of the last couple of weeks has delayed it a bit. We will be a bit busier this week but it will be 2-3 weeks time before we have good volumes of cauliflower again, so we will start to catch up."

Julian said prices have been up to £2 plus per head for large sixes on the wholesale markets, which does not help sales. If it is too expensive then people take it off the menu. He reckons that prices will stabilise in the coming weeks then come down as volumes increase.

"It has been a disaster for UK growers, we have had to move huge volumes at low prices and have had to plough in a lot. One grower will be not be continuing next year after two years of losing money on cauliflower," according to Julian. "People will have a look at what they are doing, you can't keep losing money year on year."

A lot of caterers are finding it cheaper to buy from Aldi and Lidl than to buy at the wholesale market because at the market cauliflower is £2 a head while Aldi and Lidl are selling it for 89p, according to Julian. It is the same for Iceberg and peppers. This is having a major affect on the wholesalers.

Weather has dealt a double whammy on growers as high temperatures brought on the crop but at the same time it lessened demand.

"It is a difficult situation, I hope it will get better. The very mild winter had a big effect on the season and people don't know what to plant next year.

For more information:
Julian Pitts
Veg UK
Tel: 0044 1304 503003
Email: [email protected]