UK consumers may face shortages of salad staples, including tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, for up to another month, the government said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Britain's biggest supermarket group Tesco followed rivals Asda, Morrisons and Aldi in imposing customer purchase limits on salad items after supplies were hit by disrupted harvests in southern Europe and north Africa due to unseasonal weather.
Winter Production Decline
The crisis has been exacerbated by less winter production in greenhouses in Britain and the Netherlands because of high energy costs, with social media awash with pictures of empty fruit and vegetable shelves in supermarkets.
"I'm led to believe by my officials after discussion with industry retailers...the situation will last about another two to four weeks," Therese Coffey, minister for the environment, food and rural affairs, told parliament.
"It's important that we try and make sure that we get alternative sourcing options," she said.
Spain's FEPEX association of exporters of fresh products said vegetable supplies should improve soon.
One of Britain's most experienced retail bosses blamed the shortage on a lack of government support that prevented domestic growers from making up for poor harvests overseas.
Read More: Britain's Salad Vegetable Crisis Its Own Fault, Says Former Sainsbury's Boss
Eat Turnips Instead?
On Tuesday, Minette Batters, the head of the National Farmers union said production of salad ingredients was expected to fall to the lowest level since records began in 1985.
Coffey said UK consumers might want to consider eating home grown turnips instead.
However, British leek growers told households to brace for a shortage of home grown produce too.
"If only I had been told before I voted for Brexit that it was going to cause frost in Morocco, I could have made a different decision," Conservative lawmaker Desmond Swayne said.
News by Reuters, edited by ESM – your source for the latest fresh produce news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.