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Lidl to buy drought-hit wonky veg and fruit from farmers

·3-min read
Lidl will buy stunted crop, the budget supermarket said on Thursday. Photo: Mychele Daniau/AFP via Getty
Lidl will buy stunted crop, the budget supermarket said on Thursday. Photo: Mychele Daniau/AFP via Getty

Lidl GB has announced plans to stock its supermarket shelves with the stunted fruit and vegetable crop that grew in the severe drought conditions over the summer.

The fruit and vegetables may be out of shape due to growing in the hot weather conditions but are perfectly safe to eat.

On Thursday, the German discount retailer contacted its fruit and vegetable suppliers to offer support after the record temperatures in July and August affected crops.

The drought-affected fruit and veg will be a different size and shape than customers are used to.

Read more: UK consumer confidence continues to fall as cost-of-living crisis deepens

After this summer's yield was affected by the extreme heat caused by the climate crisis, there are fears of future threats to food security in the UK, Europe and across the globe.

Now Ryan McDonnell, the CEO of Lidl GB, is calling on other supermarkets to follow suit to support the sector.

McDonnell said in a statement: “Farmers across the country are facing a big challenge this year due to the extreme weather conditions experienced over the summer months.

"Whilst the crop coming out may look and feel a bit different to what we’re all used to, it’s still the same great British quality.

"We therefore want to show support for our suppliers by working with them to find solutions to help."

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He said that the discount supermarket chain has always tried to work with suppliers to be flexible with variations in specifications at different times of the year.

McDonnell stressed that it was now more than ever that Lidl and the rest of the sector get behind suppliers that have been affected by record temperatures.

“Lidl is built on the foundation of making good food accessible and affordable to everyone, and our fresh produce range is key to achieving this.

"Whilst some supermarkets have chosen to create a separate ‘wonky veg’ label for items that don’t quite fit a certain specification, we don’t believe in a creating a false market."

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"Instead, we have always strived to work collaboratively with our suppliers to ensure that we are flexible with variations in specifications at different times of the year.

"However, now, more than ever, it’s critical that we and the rest of the sector get behind our suppliers.

"That’s why we have written to all of our British fresh produce suppliers, and I would urge other supermarkets to do the same, so that together we can ensure that perfectly good produce isn’t going to waste.”

The first Lidl GB store opened its doors in 1994 and now the German company has more than 920 stores and 13 regional distribution centres across the UK, employing over 27,500 people.

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