A Wiltshire food wholesaler has warned poor weather conditions at home and abroad have created the “perfect storm” as food shortages hit shelves.

Consumers have noticed increasingly empty fruit and vegetable shelves in supermarkets over recent days.

Ken Mortimer, director of Devizes based wholesaler The Heritage Fine Food Company, explained there is a shortage of fruit and vegetables because of global weather conditions.

He said: “There are a few mitigating circumstances that have created the perfect storm. Very little is being produced locally so we’re dependant on imports.

“Our main imports of fruit and vegetables come from Spain and Morocco. In Spain the weather conditions have been below freezing and there are floods in Morocco that have delayed things coming through the ports.

“All this has created a perfect storm that has been going on for six weeks, but people are noticing this week because people can’t fulfil their contracts. Volumes are down so prices are being eased up.”

Salisbury Journal: Ken and Kay MortimerKen and Kay Mortimer (Image: The Heritage Fine Food Company)

The disruption to supply is causing wholesale fruit and vegetable prices to skyrocket.

Mr Mortimer revealed the price of a box of 12 cucumbers has tripled from around £6 to £18. Meanwhile the price of a five-kilo box of peppers has risen to over £30.

“It’s going to get very difficult until the end of March when green vegetables are more readily available”, warned Mr Mortimer.

“Nobody knows when it will be back to normal because it’s a massive industry.”

Salisbury Journal: Empty fruit and vegetable shelves in Sainsburys, DevizesEmpty fruit and vegetable shelves in Sainsburys, Devizes (Image: Newsquest)

While disruptions in the supply chain abroad have played a factor, Mr Mortimer also believes the cost of living crisis has impacted domestic production.

He added: “In the UK many fruits and vegetables are grown in greenhouses, but nobody wants to heat them because of the cost of energy.”

The Heritage Fine Food company warned on their website that “most products out of the main salad crops are still not growing or maturing and as a result we won’t see any increase in yield.”

They claimed that cucumbers are “incredibly limited in supply” while sourcing tomatoes is “incredibly challenging.” Red and yellow peppers are also in short supply.

Salisbury Journal: The Heritage Fine Food Company site.The Heritage Fine Food Company site. (Image: The Heritage Fine Food Company)

But while Mr Mortimer hopes shortages will ease soon, he is less optimistic about onions, which are harvested once a year in the northern hemisphere and suffered a poor return.

“Onions go in everything and can’t be substituted. We’re months away from a new crop so I think prices will continue to escalate”, he explained.

Heritage Fine Food are substituting items in their subscription boxes to keep prices the same for home-delivery customers.