Tesco is to take an extra 220,000 heads of Cornish cauliflowers after a mild winter brought the crop forward leading to significant increases in volumes.
The retailer is dropping the price of caulis from £1 to 79p during the promotion to shift the extra product and counter oversupply in the market.
Grower Greville Richards, of Southern England Farms (SEF), described the move as “good news for suppliers”.
“It’s a big help,” he said. “And actually it’s a pretty generous price for the supplier. It’s been an awful lot worse than that in previous years.”
Richards said everyone in the cauliflower business has had to bypass product in the past couple of weeks, and “to shift sizeable volumes at this money is a good effort from Tesco”.
SEF has already seen an uplift in orders following Tesco's decision, Richards said, with substantial orders booked for the coming week. Plantings are slightly behind due to wet weather, but a better weather forecast from now should help this to ease going forward.
“It’s been a painful four or five weeks, and there is still a lot out there, although volumes are coming under control now,” he added. “Volumes for the rest of the season are looking good."
Tesco category buying manager David Daniels said: “We've been talking to our cauliflower suppliers for weeks about how the mild winter may affect their crops. Unseasonably good growing conditions have accelerated the growth of cauliflowers and so the crop has matured early.”
Daniels said the retailer uses advanced forecasting and ordering systems, but at certain times of year there are inevitable “bumper crops”. "We don't want to see this extra produce go to waste, so we'll take it all,” he said. “Weekly, we sell over 400,000 cauliflowers but this month we will take a further 220,000 from our producers who have seen a peak, following a mild winter.
“Our farmers benefit from us taking their increased yield. We also want our customers to benefit, so we're dropping the price to 79p, down from a pound.”