Restaurant owner fears negative impact of vegetable shortage on firm

Restaurant owner fears negative impact of vegetable shortage on firm

Carmine Monturi, a 52-year-old Italian restaurant owner, fears that his family-run business, Taste of Napoli in Bristol, could close within weeks due to a vegetable shortage and soaring pasta prices. Carmine moved to Bristol from Italy nine years ago and has been running the independent Italian restaurant for six years. He blames the shortage of vegetables on the weather in Europe and Africa and says that the cost of pasta has risen by 80%.

He worries that he will need to double the prices of his meals or cut a quarter of his menu if the ingredient prices do not fall within the next few months. Carmine has already increased the prices on his menu by 20% but says it’s not enough to offset the inflated ingredient costs.

Carmine believes that if the prices do not go down within three or four months, he will have to close the business. He says that the prices of imported goods rose since Brexit, and when they started to fall again, Covid-19 struck, causing more problems.

He has had to reduce his restaurant’s opening hours due to a lack of Italian staff since Brexit, and the start of the war in Ukraine led to increased fuel prices, higher overhead costs, and higher transport costs. Carmine’s appeal for help comes as major retail outlets have started limiting the number of cucumbers, tomatoes, and other fruit and vegetables that customers can buy. Suppliers have denied that food rationing triggered by sky-high prices was caused by Brexit.

Clive Black from Shore Capital says that bad weather in Spain and Morocco caused a perfect storm for British retailers who rely heavily on those countries for food in the winter months. He warns that the crisis is leading to sky-high prices for tomatoes and cucumbers and that rationing will continue for weeks.

Wholesale spot prices for fresh produce have soared by as much as 300% in recent weeks, according to Tim O’Malley of major importer Nationwide Produce. If these increases are passed on to British consumers, it could add several pounds to a weekly shop. Carmine is appealing for help and says that if this continues for the next three to five months, his business has no chance of staying on the market.

»Restaurant owner fears negative impact of vegetable shortage on firm«

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