Sweet potato drought leaves shelves bare

A shortage of sweet potatoes has hit the UK, leaving many supermarkets out of stock.

In the South East levels are just one 20th of normal after severe weather in the US.

Supermarkets say the shortage is worse than feared and shoppers are complaining that the vegetable cannot be bought at a reasonable price anywhere.

Supermarkets are trying to find alternative sources. North America is the largest supplier followed by Egypt and Spain.

Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras export a small amount and attempts to import them from China have not been a success.

One shopper said: "I’ve been into half a dozen large supermarkets and to local grocers and there is simply none to be had.

"One grocer said he would have to charge more than £2 each and that the shortage could last until the end of the year."

Aldi said they have been affected by the industry-wide issue and are working with suppliers to minimise disruption. They commented "Like other supermarkets we have been affected by this industry-wide issue. We are working with our suppliers to minimise disruption for our customers."

Sainsbury’s said its stores were running low as did Waitrose, Asda, Tesco and Morrisons.

The Produce Alliance in the US said: "The market continues to be tight after many growers were affected by Hurricane Florence in North Carolina last September.

"Increasing demand and heavy rains in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama also created challenges."

Source: Denton Daily