This comes after recent analysis of data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) by The Morning Advertiser revealed summer seasonal veg prices shot up by 31.3% in June versus a like-for-like period in 2022, while fruit prices had dropped.
The ongoing research from DEFRA records the weekly average prices charged at wholesale markets across the country.
The Morning Advertiser compared DEFRA’s fruit and veg prices for the four weeks of June 2023 to an equivalent period in 2022.
Overall, summer fruit and vegetable prices have climbed by 21%. However, when considered as a separate category, fruit prices have actually dropped by 9.7%.
A spokesperson for Prestige Purchasing said the largest item contributor within the Foodservice Price Index to the category-based inflation had been potatoes.
There have been noticeable shortages in various potato varieties and size grades over the last few months, and the spokesperson put this scarcity due to a poor harvests in the new early harvest period, which caused the price to keep rising.
Some salad items, including cucumbers also saw accelerated growth earlier in the summer, the spokesperson continued, as the occurrence of extreme weather events in the Mediterranean region surprisingly benefited the growth and ripening of these vegetables.
This led to a significant increase in volume, which saw the price of these items fall, in contrast to much of the category.
According to The Morning Advertiser’s analysis, the cost of cucumber dropped by 20.6% from 97p per kilogram in 2022 versus 77p in the like-for-like period in 2023.
Blueberries have also dropped in price recently as growers are expecting a bumper UK harvest this year, the Prestige Purchasing spokesperson said. Blueberries have plummeted in price by 39.6% from £10,17 per kilogram to £6.15 in 2023, according to the new research.
Poor growing conditions
However, he continued, many root vegetables had suffered from poor growing conditions over the last six months, meaning that volumes and availability had been a continual concern.
Cold weather, flooding, and now an exceptional heatwave, have all hampered the fresh produce sector both here in the UK and on the continent, he explained.
According to the DEFRA figures, carrots saw the highest price hike, rocketing by 88.9% from 54p per kilogram in June 2022 to £1.02 per kilogram in 2023. Dobson said this was due to crops being affected by the weather.
The price of beetroot also grew by a significant amount from 53p per kilogram to 83p this year – a 56.6% increase. The cost of broad beans rose by a similar amount (52.2%) from £1.82 per kilogram in 2022 to £2.77 in 2023.