Courgette supplies running low after cold weather hits suppliers in Europe

The weather has also affected lettuces, salad peppers, broccoli and cabbage

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British supermarket shelves are running low on courgettes after the cold snap on the continent hit suppliers.

The weather in Spain and Italy has also affected lettuces, salad peppers, broccoli and cabbage at a time when consumer demand for new year resolution-inspired vegetable-rich meals is high.

Tesco described its courgette shortage as "short term", saying: "Due to bad weather conditions in Spain, we are experiencing a few availability issues, but are working with our suppliers to resolve them as quickly as possible."

Jordi Vorderman, UK sales manager at Dutch vegetable supplier Valstar Holland, said courgette prices had quadrupled since the summer from between £4 and £6 to above £20 for a 5kg box.

He said: "Supplies are low because of cold nights in Spain and Italy. The cold affects courgettes a lot.

"There is less production but demand is at the same level so it has driven prices up enormously."

He said some UK supermarkets were not prepared to buy courgettes at such high prices and would rather leave their shelves empty.

Mr Vorderman said the issue was not confined to courgettes, and was also affecting produce such as peppers, aubergines and tomatoes.

"The cost of everything imported from Spain and Italy is sky high at the moment."