fresh vegetables© Rex

The vegetable sector continues to consolidate and with the supply chain in ever fewer hands, the multiples can pressure prices further in a fiercely competitive retail market.

“Furthermore, there is likely to be price pressure from the Continent on some crops as a result of the Russian import ban, which is likely to cause disruption,” says Mr Blake.

Consumer buying habits continue to change, with more consumption of ready meals providing opportunity for growth, he adds.

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“This sector requires certain grades of vegetables and salad that consumers may not normally select during their weekly shop, but it operates to high specifications.”

The intense price pressure means many businesses are reviewing the relative merits of fresh vegetable production, says Mr Blake. “The starting point is to exclude marginal land in order to concentrate on the very best land for production.”

Outlook

  • Consumer habits continue to evolve
  • Retailer price pressure intense as competition bites
  • Russian import ban could cause disruption

Business pointers

  • Supplier relationship remains important
  • Choose varieties to suit customers, improve field performance and storage life
  • Continued need to employ technology to reduce costs