Climatic conditions impact UK vegetable grower

The 'Beast from the East' and a 41-day dry spell in the summer of 2018 "posed serious challenges" to a Lincolnshire vegetable grower which supplies the likes of budget supermarket giant Aldi.

Keepstem, which owns Lincolnshire Field Products, added that despite the difficulties it was confident that it will return to profit. Newly filed accounts for the company, which is based in Wykeham, near Spalding, show its turnover dropped from £57.7m to £53.6m in the year to 2 February 2019. Its pre-tax losses were cut from £3.5m to £1.5m over the same period.

A statement signed off by the board said: "Our own grown brassica and potato crops were particularly adversely affected by weather conditions in 2018.

"Reduced crop yields adversely affected turnover and the gross profit margin.

Export sales were down by 17.3 per cent year on year in addition to which turnover was also impacted by drawing to a close the supply of Lincolnshire produce to one retail customer that we only dealt with as a result of the winding up of the former brassica joint venture with Produce World and also our withdrawal from supplying courgettes to one of the major retailers.”

"Although climatic conditions posed serious challenges, the group did not face this along as all suppliers were similarly affected. Indeed, we believe that the group outperformed its peers both in terms of availability and quality of produce as result of which we were awarded additional business by our main customer for the 2019 season and retained other core business."

Source: Insider Media