Sharp supply decline expected in November

UK: Hot weather cause of high strawberry prices

The UK strawberry season is coming to an earlier end than usual, with volumes dropping rapidly, causing prices to rise. Imported strawberries are also extremely expensive for this time year due a shortage in Holland.

"Last week we sold around 85 tonnes, from the program we worked out at the beginning of the season we would normally have expected 120 tonnes, so we were down but not massively so," according to Chris Rose from Asplins Producer Group.

"Our outdoor growers are now coming close to the end but we haven't had any frost, so supply is trickling on but the cooler weather is closing in."

The UK glasshouse autumn strawberry crop peaked earlier due to the warmer weather so it will also end earlier. Timings will vary but Chris reckons that there will be strawberries from tunnel production for another 10 days and glasshouse fruit for another week after that, but it will be in declining volumes.

"Volumes have been good this year overall," explains Chris. "We have had a very good year and volumes have been up, with no great peaks or troughs. Prices are very strong currently, which is good because at the beginning of the season the early glasshouse prices were challenging and prices are noticeably better than they were then."

Imported strawberries
"We are currently importing from Holland," said Ian Waller, Director at Total Berry. "Prices are extremely high for this time of year due to a shortage of fruit, both from Holland and the U.K. The very hot temperatures in August have affected glass house production in both countries, with many growers reporting that they are now over their peak of production. We have also seen greatly reduced volumes of tunnel production during late September and early October, which increased demand for Glass House fruit and has driven the inevitable rise in prices."

He goes on to say that the current state of the exchange rate has further exacerbated the difficulties facing importers.

"November looks like being very challenging, with all growers estimating a sharp decline in availability. Egypt are reporting that their crops are looking good but we do not expect to see any volume until early December."

For more information:
Chris Rose
Asplins Producer organisation
Tel: +44 1795 594811

Ian Waller
Total Berry
Tel: +44 (0)20 8390 1133

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