February Market Report 2024

February 2024 Market Report cover

UFC News

As we approach the first of numerous busy days in the hospitality calendar – Valentine’s Day, it is crucial for us to stay abreast of impending challenges in the dynamic market landscape ahead. From import delays in the EU to the delayed impact of extreme weather and the barriers that farmers are encountering due to inflation.

On a more positive note, we are witnessing the arrival of some exceptional produce at our depots – the well-renowned Indoor-Forced Yorkshire Rhubarb being a prime example! Anyway, let’s proceed with our February Market Report!


United Fresh

Houghtons of London logo

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Based in Croyden, Houghtons of London are specialists in all things fresh produce, and even have their own line of prepped goods.

British produce is at the forefront of their offering, always opting for local as much as possible. Their commitment to the environment is prevalent in all they do, from sourcing as close to home as possible, but also in their everyday operations. All of their delivery boxes are corrugated cardboard to ensure they are reusable until they are ready to be recycled.

February Market – Wet Weather and European News

Spring is so close we can almost touch it – Hurrah! This means we must be nearing an abundance of UK produce. Sadly, we are experiencing some issues that may suggest otherwise for our February menus.

As previously mentioned, the UK has been hit with numerous extreme weather events that have been brought on by climate change for the entire winter season. We’ve only just come out of our most recent one, where the extreme downpour of rain flooded many of our farmer’s fields.

You may be thinking, well isn’t rain good for the product? You’d be right, however, the sheer amount of rain we received disabled the farm vehicles from extracting the product from the field and subsequently caused, at best a lower-grade product and at worst a product rotting in the ground. This has impacted our potato and root veg growers hardest as these took the biggest hit under the ground. Farmers have had to take a lower grade than normal to keep up with the demand for the product. Whilst there has been some successful lifting of product in the South West, the East in particular has experienced a different story – some were even frozen in the ground, completely ruining the crop!

We’re seeing an issue across the globe in terms of potato shortages, especially in European countries which have reported a loss of 700,000 to 800,000 tonnes of product! That is a staggering figure to hear about. We’ve also had reports of broccoli shortages due to similar issues of impacted crop yields. This just further compounds the uncertainty that farmers are facing in the context of climate change.

It’s also important to note some significant events that have been happening outside of growing fresh produce for our industry. You will have seen on the news the French farmer’s blockades following a government plan to phase out the tax break for diesel, making it more expensive to operate machinery on their farms. However, anger is also growing in Germany, as well as Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland.

Seasonality Information


On a more positive note, we are witnessing the arrival of some excellent produce at our supply partner’s depots for February.

Leeks, a fantastic British product, should feature prominently on your menu this month. Not only are they readily available, but our supply partner’s proximity to the farms allows for easy backhauling to the depots.

We start to bid farewell to some winter favorites from the UK, such as brussels sprouts and Jerusalem artichokes. However, towards the end of the month, we anticipate the arrival of wild garlic from foragers, along with the first batch of Jersey Royals!



Now, we acknowledge our consistent enthusiasm for British apples, but can you blame us? Bramley apples are at their peak this upcoming month. Their incomparable flavour will undoubtedly enhance your dishes. Alongside them is the renowned Indoor-Forced Yorkshire Rhubarb, its short production window is in full swing this February, so don’t delay in adding them to your orders!

We may also start to see some UK berries towards the end of the month…


EU Produce

We have officially bid farewell to the festive leafy clementines, making way for their relatives, the Nadorcotts, which serve as an excellent alternative this month as they boast a rich depth of flavour and the perfect balance between acidity and sweetness.

Spanish artichokes have also arrived to fill the void left by the UK’s Jerusalem artichokes.

Although there were some delays in products from Holland, usually bridging the gap until the UK season, these issues are mostly resolved now, despite the rise in heating costs for the greenhouses where the products are grown.


For any questions regarding the above, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today:

Tel: 01789 339 106

Email: customerservices@unitedfresh.co.uk

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