January 20, 2022 3.30 pm This story is over 29 months old

Tesco to the rescue as 500,000 Lincolnshire cauliflowers miss Christmas after growth delay

Retailers had to import from abroad

By Local Democracy Reporter

After growing issues meant the majority of British cauliflowers weren’t ready for Christmas, including 500,000 at a Lincolnshire grower, the vegetables are now finally being harvested and sent to supermarkets.

UK retailers were forced to sell French and Spanish imports of cauliflowers over the Christmas period, after UK farmers faced some of the most difficult growing conditions in years.

It prompted half a million cauliflowers at TH Clements, based near Spalding in Lincolnshire, to flower too late and miss the festive deadline, but thankfully a major supermarket retailer has stepped in to help.

Tesco has agreed to sell the 500,000 surplus cauliflowers at a reduced rate for the next couple of weeks, dropping from 79p to 49p.

Tesco produce buying manager Sam Miller said: “Cauliflower is one of the festive vegetables that is extremely popular with Christmas dinner and as a result we order much more for December.

“Back in November we heard that our suppliers were not going to be able to meet our orders as a result of the crop failure causing severe issues across the whole UK market.

“But the good news is that a bumper crop of British cauliflowers are now ready to go, and we were delighted to help make sure they don’t go to waste.”

Sales typically peak for cauliflowers during the festive season, so the delays of the majority of TH Clements’ crop could have been disastrous if not for Tesco’s assistance.

Richard Mowbray, commercial director at TH Clements said: “We had some of the worst growing conditions for many years and it’s hit us really hard as we missed out on the big Christmas market.

“The cauliflower is a cool weather vegetable and the season started badly in August and September as we didn’t get any cold nights which are important for growth.

“The plants did not flower at the right time which is the end of October and beginning of November. Instead they started flowering in December meaning they were a month behind schedule.

“Now we have a large surplus of cauliflowers and some of these would be going to waste had Tesco not stepped in to help.”