These are all the foods we might run out of because of the UK heatwave

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
There are fears of food shortages following a long spell of dry weather in Britain (Rex)

The endless weeks of dry weather during the UK heatwave have hit crops hard across the country.

Combined with the effects of the Beast from the East earlier in the year, this could lead to the UK facing a severe shortage of some of its favourite foods this year.

The UK heatwave may provide sunny days but also food shortages (Rex)

Cold weather, excessive rain and the summer heatwave have all contributed to problems with irrigation.

Here are the foods that could be affected by extreme weather over the coming weeks and months:

The onion harvest is likely to be 25% down this year (Rex)

Onions

An ‘unprecedented’ onion shortage is on the cards because of the extreme weather of the last few months, according to Tim Elcombe, chairman of British Onions.

He described 2018 as ‘the worst year in our history’, while Jack Ward, CEO of British Growers, told The i: ‘Volumes are down for all veg, but the veg still in the ground is the worst affected. We are seeing a 20-25 per cent lower yield. It’s unprecedented.

‘It highlights the extent to which we rely on the weather when considering our food supplies. We’re at nature’s mercy.’

Carrots may be in short supply at Christmas (Rex)

Carrots

Farmer Rodger Hobson believes a lack of British-grown carrots could last up until June 2019 – and force supermarkets to import the vegetable from abroad.

Mr Hobson, chairman of the British Carrot Growers Association, said: ‘We normally plant in March and April because the longer they are in the ground the more they grow.

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‘But because of the snow we didn’t get them planted until the middle of May and it’s not just the water shortage – it’s also the temperatures.

‘The optimum is 16C to 19C. It’s 25C and the carrots just wilt.’

Growers have warned that lettuce may disappear from supermarket shelves (Rex)

Lettuce

It isn’t just the weather affecting crops – it’s causing the demand to far outstrip the supply, as is seemingly the case with salad favourite lettuce.

With salad high up on the menu while Britain baked, sales of lettuce soared, with 18 million heads sold in Britain towards the end of June – five million more than the same period in 2017.

The combination of demand and 30C temperatures – where lettuces are unable to grow – could see supermarkets empty of the salad staple.

Southern Europe, where Britain imports many of its salad crops during the winter, have also been too hot to produce lettuce in summer – meaning a possible winter shortage this year.

Potato crops have been affected by the UK – risking a shortage of crisps (Rex)

Crisps

Potato crops have taken a hit this year, according to one industry expert – and that spells bad news for crisp lovers.

Potatoes start to die when temperatures go above 25C – which the heatwave has been smashing on a daily basis.

Potato farmer Andrew Francis said: ‘If the heat persists then I can only see shortages in some vegetables, including potatoes.’

Chillis could be much hotter this year because the hot weather makes them angry (Rex)

Chillis

This will be either good news or bad news, depending on your taste buds – chillis are likely to be much spicier than usual this year because the hot weather makes them ANGRY.

Chill farmer Salvatore Genovese said peppers that grew in extreme conditions could be up to 20% hotter.

He said: ‘If the plant gets angry, or if you stress the plant you will have a hotter chilli. Extra heat will give you a much hotter chilli.’

It has been a good year for wine producers (Rex)

Wine

It’s not all bad news – the summer heatwave has provided ‘near perfect’ conditions for wine, with no danger of any shortages predicted.

The ‘right weather in the right order’ – prolonged warm weather after rainy and colder months – has meant the quality of grapes has gone up, according to Frazaer Thompson, the CEO of winery Chapel Down.

Cherie Spriggs, winemaker at Nyetimber, in Sussex, added to Decanter: ‘Higher day time temperatures coupled with wet spring soil profiles were near perfect conditions for vine growth in spring.’