Sheffield has been left feeling the effects of this year’s vegetable shortage after bad weather conditions in Europe.

Supermarkets across Sheffield have been forced to ration the number of lettuces each customer can buy in-store.

Some of the most popular varieties of lettuce such as iceberg, sweet gem and romaine have been taken off the shelves completely.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s customers will only be allowed a maximum of three lettuces per visit due to poor growing conditions in Europe.

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Yorkshire-based supermarket Morrisons has also had to limit customers to just three heads of broccoli.

A notice on the bare shelves at Morrisons’ Halfway store read: “We are sorry that the recent extreme weather in Spain is affecting supply on some of our fruit and vegetables including broccoli, lettuce, spinach and tomatoes.”

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A combination of drought and freezing conditions has caused the shortage with the severe weather affecting growers in Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

Sainsbury’s Sheffield Superstore on The Moor had a similar notice on their vegetable section.

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Dieter Lloyd, spokesman for the Leafy Salads Growers’ Association, said: “Murcia in Southern Spain provides 80% of all fresh produce in the EU let alone the UK.

“The difficulty in terms of supply is that growers who do have some produce available will supply to whoever is able to pay for it. But it costs us more to pay for it due to the weakening of the Pound against the Euro.

“Supermarkets are rationing lettuce is not because they want to short-change their customers it’s because they want to stop businesses in the local area bulk buying  produce from places like Asda, Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s to sell at restaurants.

A spokesperson for Morrisons said: “The availability of broccoli and iceberg lettuce is good for our customers. Other businesses are experiencing shortages and we have recognised bulk buying in some of our stores.”

Local businesses in Sheffield have also been affected with market stalls specialising in fresh produce suffering as a result of the shortage.

Peak Fruit and Vegetables based in Sheffield shopping centre Crystal Peaks is one local business that has, like so many others, had a shortage of its stock, particularly with varieties of lettuce.

Sales assistant Rob Shaw said: “The big difference we as a business have noticed is the rising price of lettuce at other businesses, especially Iceberg lettuce.

“Surprisingly we have got some in at the minute at the normal price, but I’ve seen recently a lot of places like supermarkets putting the prices up”.

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The growing season in Spain is not expected to return on stream this year, but it is predicted that the shortage of the affected vegetables should stabilise in the coming weeks.

 

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