© Guillaume Paumier/Wikimedia
The UK’s vegetable shortage cost retailers almost £8 million in January alone, according to new figures from IRI.
Sales of courgettes were down £2 million during the month, representing a like-for-like fall of nearly 40% on last year.
For the week to 28 January, that decline was even steeper – a 58% drop in like-for-like sales, which was the biggest drop in sales to date. That week alone is believed to have cost British supermarkets £715,000 in courgette sales, with a similar 51% fall in value sales the week before amounting to £655,000.
IRI also found that sales of bagged spinach and mixed spinach salad leaves were both 47% lower than January 2016, losing £2 million and £3.6 million respectively.
That takes the total impact of the vegetable shortage to £7.6 million in January, not including the potential impact of reduced availability of lettuce.
Supermarkets have struggled to source enough stock after a combination of floods, snow and storms affected crops in southern Europe, where many of the UK’s vegetables are sourced during the winter.
Martin Wood, head of strategic insight – retail for IRI, said: “We know there have been production problems in southern Europe and it’s starting to impact sales quite dramatically at the leading grocery multiples. It remains to be seen if this downward trend continues. In the meantime, retailers are having to react quickly to the shortage and look to alternative suppliers to plug the gaps and keep customers happy.”
Some supermarkets have limited the quantity of each vegetable that consumers can buy, while stocks of others have run out.
The struggle is real, folks. #courgettecrisis in @sainsburys pic.twitter.com/9rf4Xld3fv— Harry Wallop (@hwallop) January 18, 2017
The struggle is real, folks. #courgettecrisis in @sainsburys pic.twitter.com/9rf4Xld3fv
— Harry Wallop (@hwallop) January 18, 2017
Kantar Worldpanel head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said: “11 million households buy courgettes annually, but supply issues contributed to 759,000 fewer shoppers buying them this January – that’s a 31% drop in spending compared with the same month last year. Sales of spinach also fell… in a clear sign that the poor weather in southern Europe has had a tangible impact on British shopping baskets.”
Yesterday, Kantar Worldpanel revealed its latest figures for grocery share by retailer, which showed that Aldi had posted sales growth of 0.6% to overtake the Co-operative and become the UK’s fifth largest supermarket.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2017