Major supermarkets including Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have faced shortages, while Mark Spencer’s family-owned farm shop was doing brisk business and charging double the price.
Conservative food minister Mark Spencer’s farm shop shows there’s plenty on the shelf if you’ve got the wealth.
While supermarkets were bereft of fruit and vegetable shortages, Mr. Spencer’s family store was a land of plenty.
The green boxes at the Spring Lane Farm Shop on the outskirts of Nottingham were filled with ripe tomatoes, plump peppers and juicy cucumbers.
Ironically, he was out of turnips, the vegetable that his boss, Therese Coffey, suggested as a homegrown alternative to the scarce imported produce.
Mr. Spencer’s store was doing a brisk business, despite charging double supermarket prices.
Tomatoes were £3.99 per kg, cucumbers £1.89 each, iceberg lettuce £1.75 per piece, peppers £6.49 per kg. Broccoli costs £4.49 per kilo and Spanish giant onions £1.79.
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One customer said: “It is a bit expensive, but the quality of the products is excellent. I’m a little surprised there’s so much fresh fruit and veg available given all the horror stories that have popped up this week.”
It was a different picture at Sainsbury’s Local, just 500 yards up the road.
There were no tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers or lettuce. A pack of three regular onions was £1 with a piece of broccoli left over.
Speaking in March last year, as concerns grew over the impact of the war in Ukraine on food supplies, Spencer, 53, said there was “no prospect of food shortages at any time in the future.” .
Large supermarkets have been facing shortages for several days and shoppers are limited in their purchases.
Suppliers in Morocco and Spain, which supply most of the UK’s winter needs, have faced cold temperatures, heavy rain and flooding for the past three to four weeks.
The environment secretary, Ms Coffey, warned that the situation would “last for another two to four weeks”.
He also said British consumers should “appreciate” homegrown produce and eat more turnips rather than imported food.
Mr. Spencer and the Food Department have been contacted for comment.