Farmers warn of Christmas vegetable shortage due to wet weather

Farmers warn of Christmas vegetable shortage due to wet weather

Christmas dinner vegetable staples such as potatoes and parsnips could be in short supply this year after bad weather led to reported record-low yields in the UK.

Storms and heavy rain over the summer and autumn have led to 4.1 million tonnes of spuds being produced, LBC reported on Monday, which would make it the lowest ever produced.

After being left with empty fruit and vegetable shelves in February, shoppers could be met with a similar sight, with broccoli and cauliflower numbers also said to be down.

The UK had one of its wettest-ever Julys and then a rainy August followed by its joint warmest September before a wet October.

Fred Searle, editor of Fresh Produce Journal, said: “The British potato harvest has been hit hard by heavy autumn rain and flooding, causing delayed lifting and large crop losses.”

Experts have said that chip production will not suffer as a result as potatoes for fries are grown in Belgium but Brussels sprouts (which, confusingly, are not grown in Belgium!) could be smaller in size.

Farmer Martin Tate told LBC: “There won’t be enough broccoli to supply the Christmas dinner demand.

“Cauliflower is still a problem, and you can expect to see empty trays over the next few weeks.”

It was reported in October, that the ongoing effects of Covid, larger lifestyle changes, and the cost-of-living crisis have put meat consumption at levels not seen since the 1970s.

However, consumption is, as ever, set to ramp up around Christmas time.

The British Meat Processors Association reported in early November that pigs in blankets may be in short supply due to a strike in government vets.

“It will mean that meat plants will have to cease operations, causing loss of income for those businesses, and disrupting food supply chains,” association chief Nick Allen said.

He added: "This is a particular worry as we enter the busiest period of the year in the run-up to Christmas when our members are preparing festive products like hams and pigs-in-blankets for the Christmas market.”