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Vegetable prices 'never been so high' due to Spanish weather

Peppers have seen a 300% increase in price recently, as the price of tomatoes has gone up 200%
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.27 22 Feb 2023


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Vegetable prices 'never been s...

Vegetable prices 'never been so high' due to Spanish weather

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.27 22 Feb 2023


Share this article


Prices for vegetables are going to keep going up, owing to the colder weather in Spain.

That's according to Justin Leonard from Leonard & Sons which imports fresh fruit and veg.

Peppers have seen a 300% increase in price recently, as the price of tomatoes has gone up 200%.

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Mr Leonard told Breakfast Business there is a notable difference.

"It became very apparent at the start of this week on the ground in the market," he said.

"We could see it coming for the last 10 days or so: volumes were becoming harder to get, and prices were slowly creeping up.

"Unfortunately at the moment it's a seller's market".

'The glasshouse of Europe'

He said all of Europe depends on Spain for its produce.

"All the produce that's grown during the winter months comes from Spain," he said.

"People say that Ukraine is the breadbasket of Europe; well in the winter months Spain is the glasshouse of Europe.

"They would supply everyone from ourselves, Britain, France, Holland - the whole of Europe - with their fresh vegetables.

"The likes of your tomatoes, cucumbers, iceberg lettuce - even down to the likes of cauliflower and broccoli - all those lines have become extremely short.

"Although they're not completely unavailable, the supplies are very, very limited."

'Prices are off the radar'

Mr Leonard said he has never seen prices so high.

"Prices have already started rising, they've been rising over the last three to four weeks," he said.

"This week prices are just off the radar.

"I'm 36 years in the business, and I've never seen a price go so high for so many products.

"It's across the board, it's every single product, and that's obviously going to have to filter down all the way to the consumer".

A man chooses tomatoes in a supermarket with a reusable bag in April 2020 in Thailand. A man chooses tomatoes in a supermarket with a reusable bag in April 2020. Picture by: Elizaveta Galitckaia / Alamy Stock Photo

He said restaurants, caf├ęs, local corner shops and even larger supermarkets are "being restricted as to the volumes they can receive.

"So in turn, they're being told 'All deals are off' - most people would fix contract prices for a season with your grower.

"When you have increases of up to 300% on a product line, not only can the shipper not sustain that, the grower can't sustain it [and] neither can the wholesaler or the retailer.

"Unfortunately prices are going to go up".

Britain 'in more precarious situation'

Mr Leonard said the situation for our neighbours in the UK is even worse.

"Unfortunately for Britain they're in a little bit more of a precarious situation than ourselves here in Ireland," he said.

"We're still members of the EU, but Britain after Brexit, becoming a third country [means] anything that's shipped to or from Britain would need certain clearance documentation.

"If you're a third country and you're importing a product, there's an awful lot of paperwork that goes with the export of that product.

"The exporters [are] saying 'It's easier to sell the product in Europe than it is to send it all the way to Britain'," he added.

Listen back to the full interview below:

Main image: Fresh Fruit and Veg display in a supermarket in September 2014. Picture by: Simon Hadley / Alamy Stock Photo

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Breakfast Business Fresh Fruit And Veg Fruit And Veg Prices Leonard & Sons Seller's Market Spain Spanish Weather Ustin Leonard

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