Stephen Thompson, co-owner of Thompson Brothers Greengrocers in Sherwood.

Independent greengrocers and smaller local supermarkets say they are fully stocked despite the fresh produce shortages that are causing unusually bare shelves in big supermarket chain stores.

The current fruit and vegetable shortages are due to a combination of poor weather affecting crops and the high cost of heating greenhouses to grow out of season produce in overseas locations.

It is expected that the supply issue will continue for several weeks, with government ministers holding talks with supermarkets to discuss how they can get more fresh food on shelves.

So why are independent sellers unaffected?

“We’re willing to pay the higher price, bUT supermarkets are refusing. SO people think we’re racketeering and making a fortune.”

Stephen Thompson, Thompson Brothers Greengrocers

Independent grocers across Nottingham have managed to remain fully stocked, with much of their supply unaffected due to buying locally-sourced produce and paying the higher asking prices.

Identical twin brothers, Stephen and Andrew Thompson, have owned Thompson Brothers Greengrocers in Sherwood for over 40 years.

Stephen and Andrew Thompson, owners of Thompson Brothers Greengrocers. PHOTO CREDIT: LeftLion.

The government has blamed bad weather in Spain and Morocco for some of the fruit and vegetable shortages, but Stephen Thompson believes the situation has been caused by the outsourcing of goods and ‘greedy’ energy providers.

AUDIO: Stephen Thompson on ‘greedy’ energy providers.

“The situation doesn’t help independents like us because we’re willing to pay the higher price, but supermarkets are refusing.

“So people think we’re racketeering and making a fortune off our fruit and vegetables,” he says.

Anthony’s Fruit and Veg Boxes, Nottingham. PHOTO CREDIT: Anthony’s Fruit and Veg.

The owner of Nottingham-based business, Anthony’s Fruit and Veg Boxes, says the shortages are causing a price increase spike.

“We can get hold of everything, but we are having to pay a ridiculous price,” he says.

“I have seen wholesale prices triple. Local vegetables, like cauliflower, have been damaged by frost. So we are having to buy French cauliflower due to the shortage, which has tripled the price of cauliflower for us,” Anthony explains.

VIDEO: Supermarket shortages vs Independent abundances.


Environment Secretary Therese Coffey has said that shortages could last for a month, but UK growers think it could be for longer.

“British farmers haven’t planted for the major supermarkets. If you don’t pay the higher price, they won’t plant for you. Farmers would’ve planted in November, but they haven’t because they’re not guaranteed to get their money back,” says Andrew Thompson.

Fruit shortages at Tesco Superstore in Carlton, Nottingham.

Many major UK supermarkets are rationing a range of fruit and vegetables, with big names like Tesco and Aldi limiting three per customer on sales of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

Asda has been the worst hit, with the supermarket giant capping sales of lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflowers and raspberries to three per customer, along with tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

Nottingham independent supermarkets and greengrocers with fruit and vegetables in stock:

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