Spanish exporter federation Fepex has warned that the European vegetables will be in short supply until at least early April.
Bad weather has reduced harvests by an estimated 60 per cent, with production wiped out across the Mediterranean, including large swathes of Italy, Greece and Spain.
Fepex said that open-air crops including lettuce, endives spinach had been particularly affected, and that the supply situation in the coming weeks will depend on climatic conditions during February and March.
“In the south east of Spain, the actual situation is due to a combination of the drought in October and November, heavy rainfall and floods in December and January and snow and freezing conditions earlier this month,” Fepex said in a statement.
“Together with the ensuing delay in the new planting cycle, these factors, which have been declared a force majeure, will lead to a 30 per cent reduction in overall vegetable volumes, although this varies from product to product.”
The shortage will impact the entire supply chain, including fresh-cut.
Seeking to put a positive spin on the situation, Fepex pointed out that the fact that Spain would continue to supply European markets throughout the crisis proved that it remains the most reliable European supplier in terms of quantity and quality.
In a normal year, Spain supplies more than 50 per cent of Europe’s vegetables during the winter, shipping more than 100,000 tonnes a month of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and between 50,000-100,000 tonnes of other vegetables including cauliflower a broccoli.