If you want to buy cucumbers or tomatoes in Great Britain, you may face a problem: empty shelves. Pictures of the empty vegetable departments made the rounds on social networks.
Several supermarket chains are limiting the sale of some types of fruit and vegetables simply because of supply problems. Tesco and Aldi, for example, have introduced sales limits for certain products, the BBC reported. It is feared that this crisis could continue for months.
There are also reports from Denmark that fewer tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines are being delivered. At the supermarket chain Rema 1000, shelves are also partly empty, the newspaper Berlingske reported.
The extreme weather in Spain and Portugal is cited as the reason for the lack of vegetables. This destroyed a large part of the harvest. The British Farmers' Association had also previously warned of falling domestic food production.
Is there a shortage of tomatoes, cucumbers and the like in Germany too? The German supermarket chains currently see no danger, according to a survey by the star.
A spokesman for the Schwarz Group, which includes Lidl and Kaufland, said there were sufficient stocks in the logistics centers. Long-term partnerships with suppliers and logistics service providers would continue to strengthen the availability of goods.
Edeka announced that "the supply of our markets with sufficient quantities" could continue to be ensured.
Aldi said that the current developments are being observed. Due to the prevailing cold weather front at the beginning of the year in some growing countries, there is a challenge on the market. "Nevertheless, there is currently no general availability problem with fruit and vegetables at Aldi," it said on request.
Rewe and Penny also announced that there would be sufficient vegetables "in the future". The retail group does not only see the weather in southern Europe and North Africa as the reason for the bottlenecks in Great Britain.
"As is well known, Great Britain has fundamental supply problems with goods from the EU due to Brexit. In addition, there are very serious logistics problems due to a lack of drivers. If there are also harvest fluctuations in important fruit
Farmers' President Joachim Rukwied also considers Brexit to be an aggravating factor in the current shortage of vegetables in Great Britain. "The reports from the island prove the great advantage of the EU internal market for the secure supply of food in Germany," he told the "Rheinische Post".
Like Great Britain, Germany is a large importer of fruit and vegetables, especially from southern Europe. "Brexit makes all the difference here. The bureaucratic and time-consuming customs formalities deter many traders and the scarce goods remain on the continent."
Brexit has also led to price increases for vegetables and fruit in Great Britain - caused by the increased costs of customs controls. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine also drove up the costs again. These are then passed on to consumers. And fewer harvest workers from other EU countries are exacerbating the situation in the UK.
Climate change is also troubling farmers: In the summer of 2022, for example, Great Britain experienced a heat wave followed by a long and severe freeze. Parsnips, carrots, cabbage and cauliflower have all been affected, said Tim O'Malley of British food company Nationwide Produce. He expects further price increases.
Britain's Agriculture Minister Therese Coffey expressed optimism on Thursday; the bottleneck can be overcome in two to four weeks. And she recommended her compatriots to give preference to local vegetables: "A lot of people are eating beets now."
Other sources: DPA and AFP news agencies, BBC, "Berlingske"