Food shortages heap more pressure on struggling restaurants and cafes
British restaurateurs have said shortages of fruits and vegetables are proving “very problematic” for business amid an already challenging period for the sector.
“We’re experiencing mass shortages with the supply of fruit and vegetables. We are struggling to get avocado and berries in particular,” Philip Inzani, founder of Polo 24 Hour Bar, a cafe and Bar in Liverpool Street, told City A.M.
Inzani said that the business is caught between a “rock and a hard place” as he does not want to increase prices and “alienate customers”.
But he hopes that he’ll be able to do enough to ride out the shortage.
“Spring is not too far away so with a bit of luck, initiative and ensuring that we don’t waste any of our produce we should be OK,” he said.
Simon King, owner of The Victoria in Surrey told City A.M. that his pub was not heavily impacted by the shortages, but warned that demand is “outstripping” the supply.
“Inevitably the costs of these goods are likely to continue to rise, which is another concern,” he explained.
It comes as major supermarkets have been forced to limit sales of fridge staples such as tomatoes and peppers due to supply shortages, which could last until April or May.
The shortages have been blamed on poor weather in southern Europe and northern Africa, which has disrupted crop growth.
Suppliers in Morocco have been battling with flooding and heavy rain, which also led to ferry cancellations.
Despite these challenges, Kate Nicholls, chief of UKHospitality told City A.M. that, for now, the industry is managing to cope.
“Some hospitality businesses are experiencing intermittent disruption to their fresh produce supply but the sector is managing to navigate through current challenges without widespread shortages,” she said.