Food and drink market update - May / June 2023

22 May, 2023


As we embrace summer, the food market is teeming with a good variety of fruits and vegetables, both locally produced and imported from France and Spain. According to reports, pricing will remain firm but stable over the coming weeks.

In general, prices for frozen products are finally showing signs of stability or reduction due to lower demand. While this situation may change later in the year, for now, we can enjoy some much-awaited stability in the frozen market.

Additionally, due to the spawning season of cod and haddock, their flesh becomes thinner and yields decrease, making it difficult to obtain substantial quantities of these fish. If you're looking for suitable alternatives, hake is currently offering good value, plaice fillets will be rich and flavorful, and pollock, coley, and ling are all excellent substitutes for white fish. Mackerel is now in season and in ample supply; it's advisable to secure this before they are exported to the continent.

Milk prices are decreasing as the country entered the peak milk production period in May.

Take a look at the price movements and the quality of the products by category below:

Key price movements:

Fruits & Vegetables

English strawberries at their best will appear in the early part of the month from various growers around the country. Toward the end of the month, it is expected to have raspberries from England and Scotland available as well.

Peaches, nectarines and apricots with good quality can also be expected and will be coming from Spain.

Melons (both Honeydew and Piel de Sapo - frog skin melons) will also be arriving from Spain and its sweetness is the highlight for this product.

Apples and pears will move to southern hemisphere supply so be aware of prices firming.

Iceberg lettuce will be moving from Spanish to UK early in the month with little gem and cos also arriving. Later in the month it is expected the arrival of UK lollo and oakleaf lettuce.

Tomatoes, capsicum peppers and aubergines will continue to arrive from Holland and Belgium in good volumes. Quality and sizes are good and all colours of peppers are now available. Some batches of new tomatoes may be under colour at first but this will improve as the season progresses.

New crop potatoes' availability will continue to rise throughout the month with the appearance of some products from Cornwall.

UK peas will be arriving along with some good quality UK broad beans. It is expected a reduction on wild garlic volumes by the end of the month as the plants start to flower. Asparagus season is at its peak and Yorkshire rhubarb has now moved from indoor to outdoor grown.

Main crop carrot volumes have diminished over the last few weeks which has pushed prices up. The new season product is expected to begin in late May/early June and will arrive from either Spain or France.

It is also the season of high quality artichokes with some great products arriving from Spain.

UK broccoli will be available in early June and its availability will be tight and prices will be high.

English cauliflower over winter season is coming to an end. Good quality French is an alternative with new season UK Summer cauliflower starting in June.

New Season Spanish onions will start arriving over the next few weeks and prices should drop. Stocks will be kept low as the skin condition will be flaky.


In April, the Actual Milk Price Equivalent (AMPE) value dropped to 31.81ppl. Prices for various dairy products have also decreased, indicating the likelihood of further reductions in farmgate prices beyond May.

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) data reveals that the income from cream for liquid processors has declined from 16.53ppl in September 2022 to 8.83ppl in April 2023, highlighting the downward price trends.

Consequently, many dairy farmers can expect the farmgate milk price in May 2023 to be approaching or falling below the production costs.

Frozen Fish & Seafood

Frozen white fish stocks are gradually being replenished, leading to a decline in prices.

There have been notable reductions in frozen pollock prices after experiencing significant increases in recent years. This can be attributed to increased supply and decreased demand.

Frozen pollock has gained popularity in retail sales, surpassing cod, primarily because of its prevalence in value-added breaded and battered products. When the Icelandic quota concludes in July, consider utilising frozen pllock as an alternative to fresh cod and haddock.

Prices for coldwater prawns are also decreasing due to secured pricing during a fortuitous period characterized by global over-stocking and reduced demand.

Currently, frozen squid prices remain stable. However, there are reports of poor landings of illex (one of the main species), along with concerns regarding the sustainability of the todarodes pacificus species (another key species). As a result, price increases in the medium to long term can be expected.

Fresh Fish


Cod will soon begin spawning, impacting its quality and availability. This is likely to lead to reduced supply. Considering frozen options can serve as a viable alternative.


Similar to cod, haddock is also approaching its spawning season. Quality and yield will be affected. Frozen haddock can be a good substitute during this time.


Hake is currently experiencing favorable fishing conditions, resulting in good availability; including hake in your menus can be a great option.


The UK mackerel season started in May, leading to an increase in locally caught fish; expect improved availability.


Plaice yields improved in May as the fish fully returns to season; consider featuring whole grilled plaice as a special.


Prices for monkfish have seen a decline for two consecutive months due to good availability; this makes it a suitable option for special dishes.


While salmon prices remain high, there has been a slight drop in the past two weeks. Norwegian sources indicate that prices are expected to stabilise without further increases. However, it's worth noting that salmon farmers may find reasons to raise prices. The current trend shows a decreasing demand for salmon, so farmers should exercise caution to prevent a decline in demand.

Tuna and Swordfish

During the peak of the European summer, tuna prices usually increase due to higher demand. Swordfish prices are expected to remain stable, unaffected by major holidays.

Lemon Soles

Improved local fish supply and better landings have led to reduced prices for lemon soles.

Dover Soles

Dover Soles tend to move offshore at this time of year, resulting in limited availability and increased prices; consider removing them from menus and specials accordingly.


As the water temperature rises, local squid goes out of season. Consequently, prices have already increased, and this trend is expected to continue throughout the summer.

Smoked Haddock

The availability of larger haddock and decreasing prices has resulted in a decline in smoked haddock prices.

Crayfish and Prawns in brine

Due to lower sales and an improved raw material flow, brine producers have recognized the need to be competitive and have consequently reduced their prices. Therefore, prices for crayfish and prawns in brine have dropped.

Cooking Oils

Since November 2022, vegetable oil prices in general have been drifting down from the highs recorded in the first half of 2022. 

Working alongside our trusted network of suppliers, Regency has secured exclusive, best-in-market fixed pricing on cooking oil purchases, as well as the most competitive pricing on returned oil for recycling.

In fact, following our recent price negotiations, Regency members have saved an average of 14.6% on their invoice prices.

With the possibility of prices rising from June onwards, we recommend reviewing your oil prices as soon as possible to benefit from lower fixed pricing. Find out more

Sources: Direct Seafood UK, Dole UK, Farm Advisory Service, Oliver Kay UK.

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