Imports of most fruit and vegetables rose during the last year as British production of fresh produce slipped across the board, according to new Defra statistics.
Overall production of veg fell by 5.2 per cent during 2016, while fruit fell by 3.7 per cent, with the exception of apples.
British production of vegetables contributed to around 54 per cent of the total UK supply in 2016, 4.6 per cent lower than in 2015.
Total veg supply was down by 0.6 per cent to 4.9 million tonnes – the first fall in four years. Within the category, British-grown carrots and cabbages accounted for over 90 per cent of total supply, a slight dip on 2015, while tomatoes were down by 0.6 per cent on the peak home supply of the year before.
In fruit, domestic production accounted for 17 per cent of the total supply, a fall of 3.4 per cent. British apples increased their share of the market to 42 per cent, a 6.8 per cent increase on 2015 thanks to an increase in production and a reduction in exports.
Fruit value fell by 3.7 per cent driven largely by a value decline in soft fruit and a later start to the season.