Retailer is accepting slightly smaller sprouts, cauliflowers, cabbages and leeks from growers to support growers and help avoid shortages
Tesco is accepting smaller produce from UK winter vegetable growers hit by recent storms and flooding.
The supermarket is temporarily accepting slightly smaller sprouts, cauliflowers, cabbages and leeks to help them avoid lower prices on the open market.
Tesco said the move would also it keep British produce on shelves for customers and reduce the risk of shortages.
The heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding starting in the late autumn and continued through Christmas and into the New Year. The floods have mainly affected growers in Lincolnshire, East Anglia, Cornwall and Scotland.
Tom Mackintosh, Tesco’s fresh produce and horticulture director, said: “We’re pleased to be able to provide support to our growers, farmers and suppliers who are facing really challenging harvesting conditions.”
In the lead up to Christmas, Tesco’s technical team worked closely with suppliers to ensure festive vegetables would not be in short supply. Sprouts were a particular problem due to their size and some were growing underwater due to the flooding.
In order to dry the wet sprouts, Tesco worked with growers to develop a new drying method, using cool air blowers to blow the water off them in their storage pallets.
The East Midlands and Lincolnshire have been particularly hard hit since the storms and flooding started in October.
One of Lincolnshire’s biggest growers of winter vegetables, TH Clements, said it has only had a handful of dry days since October, which has made harvesting extremely difficult.
TH Clements commercial director John Moulding said: “This is the worst flooding we have had this century and we have lost about 20 per cent of our total winter crops, including sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower and leeks.
“It’s been a very tough time for us for more than three months both physically and financially in having to pull the vegetables out of the muddy fields.
“We have literally had to race against the clock to get the vegetables pulled out of the ground to stop them from rotting.
“The flexibility that Tesco has given us has allowed us to maximise the amount of product we can get on their shelves therefore guaranteeing greater availability for shoppers.”