'Perfect storm' will push up food costs, experts warn

The price of vegetables such as courgettes is set to rocket.
The price of vegetables such as courgettes is set to rocket.
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Vegetable suppliers are warning that the full impact of bad weather in Europe is still to be felt in British supermarkets, after some retailers have already rationed iceberg lettuces and warned they have run out of produce such as courgettes.

A “perfect storm” of drought followed by flooding and freezing conditions across |Europe, combined with a jump in import prices caused by the Brexit-hit pound, could see food prices rocket.

The cost of veggie burgers could go up in both supermarkets and restaurants, experts said.

Suppliers are already proposing huge price increases of 140 per cent for courgettes, 122 per cent for broccoli and up to 63 per cent for lettuce varieties, according to purchasing firm Beacon.

Paul Connelly, managing director at Beacon, said: “The perfect price storm is likely to last well into 2017 and impact other British favourite foods and drinks - as Brexit starts to bite too.

“Given how badly damaged some crops and growing areas were, we can’t see that the market will stabilise any time soon. We expect 2017 to be a difficult year for many of our favourite foods.”

Alan Clarke, head of European Fixed Income Strategy at Scotiabank, added: “Extreme weather has devastated vegetable crops in Spain, leading to shortages of a number of vegetables in the UK.

“Prices of veggie burgers (or other such processed food products) could rise after a lag given that the ingredients that go into these have risen.”

Overall food prices rose by 0.8 per cent between November and December, having been flat a year earlier.