Supermarkets warned of TOMATO shortage caused by soaring energy costs

Now prepare for TOMATO SHORTAGE: Supermarkets are warned of major shortage caused by soaring energy costs and supply chain issues – as price of cherry tomatoes rises by 58%

  • Tomato prices have risen by nearly 60 per cent over the past year in the UK
  • Industry bosses say the ‘cocktail’ of problems is likely to hit supermarket shelves
  • UK producers have reduced greenhouse growing time due to rising energy costs
  • Netherlands and Spain, UK’s largest suppliers, have similarly been hit by costs
  • Spain also impacted by lorry driver strikes over fuel costs and delays at Dover 

Supermarkets have been warned of a major shortage of tomatoes caused by soaring energy costs and supply chain issues – as the price of cherry tomatoes has risen by 58 per cent.

Tomato prices have jumped by nearly 60 per cent over the past year, while there are also fewer options on supermarket shelves in what industry bosses have called a ‘cocktail’ of problems.

UK-grown tomatoes rely on greenhouses being heated to an optimal temperature of 20C, but producers have reduced growing times due to the rise in energy prices caused by Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the two biggest exporters of tomatoes to the UK, Spain and the Netherlands, have also been forced to pass on the cost of rising energy bills. 

Crops in Spain have also been hit by heavy rain and a strike by lorry drivers over the rising cost of fuel and delays at UK border control at Dover, The Grocer reports.

Morocco, another large supplier of tomatoes to the UK, has banned exports of the fruit during Ramadan to keep its local markets fully stocked and avoid shortages as the food is considered a vital meal for those breaking fast during the Holy festival.

Cherry tomatoes have climbed 58 per cent in the UK over the last year, according to analysts Mintec, reaching an average of £3.83 per kilogram.

The UK’s supply of its own tomatoes has gradually risen over recent years, with more greenhouse operations and better technology able to leading to greater year-round supply. 

But half of domestic greenhouses have been left empty for longer to save money.

Two Ukrainian refugees pictured washing tomatoes in Alicante, Spain, which has also been hit by soaring energy costs

Freight lorry queues continue at The Port of Dover in Kent, one of multiple reasons behind a lorry driver strike in Spain. They are also protesting rising fuel costs

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a rise in global energy prices, which is now affecting UK producers of tomatoes

Julie Woolley, of the British Tomato Growers’ Association, said: ‘Ultimately the drive here is to enable UK growers to produce more tomatoes for our own market, enabling us to invest in long-term plans around sustainable energy solutions.

‘We know we can provide the best quality and best tasting tomatoes for our own local market and we urge consumers to continue seeking out British grown tomatoes at their local retailers.’   

Mintec has warned of potential supermarket shortages over the coming months due to the ‘substantial pressure of rising costs’ causing many vegetable producers to ‘cease production’.

It comes at the same time a a row between farmers and supermarkets over soaring costs has sparked fresh fears of egg shortages, after industry chiefs warned many could shut down production.

Farms are calling on all major supermarkets to hike the price of a dozen eggs by 40p for free range and as much as 80p for organic, meaning some customers would have to shell out some £4.40 for a box of 12 organic eggs.

Farmers are asking for the increase in order to help producers cope with rocketing bills for fuel and energy, which have risen by 30 per cent and 40 per cent respectively in recent weeks.

The war in Ukraine is also hitting farmers in their pockets, with the cost of feeding hens with grain grown in the region also now 50 per cent more expensive.

But despite warnings and pleas for help from the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA), the UK’s biggest supermarkets have yet to increase the price of free range and organic eggs to a level where many farms can break even.

BFREPA surveyed egg producers last week and found that more than half of farmers are seriously considering stopping production until the price they are paid improves.

New figures published today have also shown more than a quarter of UK businesses are reporting that their production and suppliers have been affected by recent increases in energy prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion.

A row between farmers and supermarkets over soaring costs has sparked fresh fears of egg shortages, after industry chiefs warned many could shut down production

Britons are paying almost £3 more for an average 20 item shopping basket than 12 months ago, analysis of new data shows. Pictures are for illustrative purposes and are not the actual price of each item. The data comes from price comparison website The data is from April 2021 to April 2022 and prices are an average of all items of that type across all of the UK’s major supermarkets. Categories also include small and larger sizes – meaning beans include packs of up to six while beer includes packs of up to 18

Consumer experts have warned Britons to brace for a 2.2 per cent rise in the average cost of crisps within six months. Pictured: A graphic showing how prices on could look if there is a 2.2 per cent price rise. *Current prices are based on non-deal prices from Tesco according to comparison website as of April 18, 2022 **Six month prices are estimates based on current prices with a 2.2 per cent increase, rounded up and down to the nearest pence

That includes 56 per cent of accommodation and food service firms reporting they had been impacted by energy costs, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Food store sales fell 1.1 per cent last month, with cost of living concerns causing households to cut back on excessive food purchases and becoming more meticulous with what is being stocked in the kitchen.

An ONS survey last month found that 87 per cent of adults reported their cost of living had increased, with the most common reason given being a rise in the price of food shopping.

Last month, McDonalds’s began rationing tomatoes in its UK restaurants after supply chain issues led to a shortage of the fruit. 

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