Supplies and prices of seasonal fruit and vegetables could be hit this summer as a result of the shortage of migrant labour facing UK farmers, warns Lynx Purchasing.
Hospitality and catering business have been urged to monitor supply prices carefully in the Summer 2018 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast.
“Our usual advice is to make the most of fresh, seasonal produce, but this summer that comes with an additional warning due to the labour issue,” comments Rachel Dobson, managing director of Lynx Purchasing.
“With fresh salad crops and summer berries now ready for picking, the industry is struggling to recruit enough seasonal workers.
“It’s not simply concerns about Brexit, although that’s a factor; EU workers now have a wider range of employment options and many have seen wages increase in their own country or can travel somewhere closer to home for seasonal work.
“Without enough migrant workers, there’s a risk that produce is simply left in the fields.
“Farmers and growers have asked for a commitment from government that they will have access to sufficient numbers of permanent and seasonal workers, and it’s an issue which needs a speedy resolution.
“Although the two bursts of freezing weather at the start of spring caught farmers off guard, the supply chain has plenty of experience of extreme conditions.
“Growers have largely caught up, so it would be a shame now if caterers have to reduce the amount of fresh produce featured on summer menus due to higher costs caused by the labour shortage.”