‘They always come back to the local shop’- smaller businesses thriving in a shortage

Many shoppers in Sheffield have been ‘shocked’ at the shortage of stock in supermarkets and are now turning to smaller shops, according to local grocers.

The recent shortage in fresh produce, as well as large price hikes, have affected consumers and businesses across the UK. Extreme weather conditions in big growing regions such as Morocco, Spain, and North Africa have meant vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers are not making it onto supermarket shelves. 

Many shoppers in Sheffield are now looking to local businesses for their large stock and more affordable prices. Martin Bingham from Bingham & Browne, Quality Fruit & Veg stall in the Moor Market said: ‘’Basically due to bad weather, produce is now very expensive. We pay treble what we used to pay.’’ 

He added: ‘’Large chain supermarkets are pushing family market stalls out of business. Supermarkets say that fruit and veg is now too expensive to stock, but we find a way. People always start going back to the supermarkets as soon as they restock on everything.’’

Large supermarkets like Morrisons and Asda now have a limit on how many tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables you can buy at once. Signs below bare shelves in Morrisons read: ‘’Availability across our range has been significantly impacted by adverse weather conditions across Spain and Morocco. During this time purchase is limited to 2 per customer across the range. Thank you for your patience.’’

Noah Potts, 18, who shops weekly at supermarkets in the City Centre and around Broomhill said: ‘’I usually buy cucumbers and tomatoes every week at Morrisons but this week I had to catch the bus to get to other supermarkets that have them in stock. I think I will start shopping at independent markets around Sheffield as they seem to have more stock than bigger chains.’’

Small market stalls across the Moor Market and in other areas of Sheffield seem to always be fully stocked with fruit and vegetables, at more affordable prices. The mix of this recent shortage, high prices, cost of living crisis and Brexit have meant many people are favouring family grocers over chains.

Richard Thurston, who works at Fruit a Peel in Broomhill said: ‘‘Absolutely the prices have gone up. When supermarkets haven’t got anything in stock, they always come back to the local shop. Because I always have it.’’

Written by Amara Keeling

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