I watched Therese Coffey in Parliament on TV on Thursday. She did make a brief reference to in season vegetables, like the turnip, but she also pointed to fixed price contracts offered by UK Supermarkets to their suppliers, being a problem. It is this, primarily, that has caused Supermarket shelves in UK to be empty. Of course there has been bad weather in Morroco and Spain, but, when UK Supermarkets will not pay market prices, then “food shortages” become inevitable for the 95% of UK shoppers who buy their fruit and vegetables exclusively from those Supermarkets.
But for small green grocers and market stall holders, there is no shortage of tomatoes, lettuce and the many other out of season vegetables that have become winter staples. These small retailers pay the market price and so have an abundance of stock to offer to customers who can be bothered to shop in places other than the major food retailers. Bolton Market, for example has no shortages, and the fruit and vegetables on offer are generally better quality than most Supermarket offerings. The UK mainstream media made jokes about turnips, when they should have been taking major UK food retailers to task over their fixed price contracts offered to UK suppliers. Then again, with UK Supermarkets spending fortunes on mainstream media advertising, what else can we expect?