Wheat and vegetable crops are struggling throughout the continent with price rises on the way
Sarah ButlerLast modified on Fri 3 Aug 2018 18.15 BST
The ongoing heatwave is starting to burn a hole in Britons’ pockets, as higher food prices linked to scorched harvests across Europe reach shops and restaurants.
“Today I am selling a box of broccoli for £8 but by Monday that could have doubled,” says Paul Murphy, a director of Yes Chef,based at London’s New Covent Garden market, which supplies fruit and vegetables to restaurants in the capital.
“Broccoli is cooking in the fields … farmers can’t get them out of the ground quick enough before the sun yellows them,” he said. “We’ve not experienced anything like this in decades. The prices we expect to see over the next couple of weeks could be nothing compared with what’s in store for autumn if the heat has done the damage growers think.”
The major supermarkets are partially insulated from sharp price moves by long-term supplier contracts but the price of broccoli on their shelves has already risen by more than a quarter, year on year, according to the Grocer trade journal, while carrots are up 8.3% and onions 3.5%. An iceberg lettuce is now 52p on average compared with 49p this time last year, as some salad suppliers are being forced to ship in produce from the US as soaring temperatures across Europe leave plants wilting in the fields.