In some truly concerning festive news, the latest reports are suggesting that there could be a shortage of roasties on your plate for Christmas 2023 as supplies are under threat this winter.
Please, say it ain’t so — 50% of Christmas is filling up roasties and gravy.
While there’s often talk of supermarket shortages and supply problems around this time of year, as per The Manc and other outlets, it seems the nation might genuinely have to cut back on the number of roast spuds we intend to eat over the next few months due to recent storms.
Following what is looking like one of the toughest harvests on record, the yield of potato crops has been hit hard by the ‘Autumn washout’, with fields being waterlogged by the likes of Storm Babet, Ciarán, Debi and more, meaning that farmers have been unable to harvest a lot of their produce.
Showing clips of agricultural machinery stuck in the thick mud and ever so slowly rotting potatoes earlier this week, ITV’s Ben Chapman spoke to food producers in Lincolnshire who revealed they are going to lose “at least 5-10% of [their] crop” due to the boggy conditions.
Farmer James Lacey explained how there is around £200k worth of potatoes that he and his team simply can’t harvest and that they are struggling to hold on to those already pulled out, as even such robust vegetables as potatoes just “don’t like this kind of weather and aren’t storing very well”.
This is on just one plot of land too; unfortunately, current figures project that roughly 20% of this autumn’s potato crop has been flooded and will likely be unsalvageable, with the majority of rotting spuds only fit for animal feed.
Although the figures are still unclear, it is estimated that the latest potato crop is tipped for a record low of 4.1 million tonnes — for context, on average and in their various forms, us Brits eat around 250m potatoes at Christmas every year.
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Sadly, it doesn’t stop there either as due to the almost unprecedented rainfall over the last few months and back-to-back storms, combined with the increasingly frosty conditions now creeping across the UK, the likes of broccoli, carrots, parsnips are all under threat.
As a result, retailers are already being forced to supplement their supplies from cold storage which, obviously, isn’t endless.
With shortages of different vegetables increasing every week and as well as the impact it is having in restaurants already, the knock-on effect it may have on supermarkets with people raiding the freezers to get frozen roasties at the ready just in case could be massive.
Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that as we still want to take an afternoon nap after a serious carb coma.