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Fruit and veg entrepreneur Lee explains shortages in supermarkets

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Short of fresh fruit and veg? Then head to your local market says fruit and veg entrepreneur Lee Martin.

And Lee – who is a familiar face at markets in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk – believes he has the answer as to why supermarkets are running out.

“We don’t have any shortages of produce across the range,” says Lee.

Lee Martin: “The shortage is only with the supermarkets simply because they don’t want to pay a fair price to the growers.” PHOTO: Swaffham Market Superintendent

Lee Martin: “The shortage is only with the supermarkets simply because they don’t want to pay a fair price to the growers.” PHOTO: Swaffham Market Superintendent

“Yes, some produce has gone up but it’s available.

“The shortage is only with the supermarkets simply because they don’t want to pay a fair price to the growers.”

He adds: “As always, here at Norfolk Produce group, we go above and beyond to serve our customers.”

L & H Fruits at Swaffham Market today PHOTO: Swaffham Markets Superintendent

L & H Fruits at Swaffham Market today PHOTO: Swaffham Markets Superintendent

Lee flagged up the availability of markets being able to supply most of what shoppers need.

Ahead of today’s outing to Swaffham he posted on social media: “Ladies and gentlemen of Swaffham and the surrounding villages. We will be at Swaffham this Saturday as normal – filled with both fresh and local produce.”

Few shortages, if any, at Ely Market on Thursday PHOTO: Nicky Still


Few shortages, if any, at Ely Market on Thursday PHOTO: Nicky Still

The market superintendent at Swaffham supported Lee, posting to Twitter today: “Struggling to find tomatoes, cues and lettuce? Then come to #Swaffham #Market where Lee has a good supply.

“Plenty for all #Norfolk #SaturdayMarket #buynorfolk #staysafe #buylocal #mymarket #LYM2023

Former senior Asda buyer Ged Futter believes the current supply shortages at UK supermarkets are down in large part to retailers’ all-consuming focus on price at the expense of product availability

In an article in Fresh Produce Journal, he writes: “There are no reports of shortages in France and Germany, and European shoppers have shared photos of fully stocked fresh produce aisles. The same cannot be said of British supermarkets.

Few shortages, if any, at Ely Market on Thursday PHOTO: Nicky Still


Few shortages, if any, at Ely Market on Thursday PHOTO: Nicky Still

“The truth behind this contrasting situation is not difficult to find, even when hidden by statements blaming it all on the weather.

“Yes, the weather is a factor, but it is only one of the factors. The fact of the matter is UK retailers hedged their bets last year.

“They bet that they wouldn’t need to use UK greenhouses for produce in January and February, yet again they put all their money on black and it landed on red.”

He believes the fight for the lowest price has meant that the wrong metrics are measured.

And he poses the question about inflation.

“Are producers, farmers and suppliers expected to swallow this, to absorb it into their already wafer-thin margins? According to the retailers, the answer is yes,” he says.

“But those days are gone. I think the apt phrase is ‘the salad days are over’. We are lurching from crisis to crisis, and nothing is changing. The focus on price is all consuming and is clouding judgement.”

Ged is a director at the Retail Mind, a groceries retail consultancy.

His full column can be read here:

 https://www.fruitnet.com/fresh-produce-journal/retailers-obsession-with-price-is-main-cause-of-produce-shortages/248419.article

 

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