Some retailers are remaining optimistic they can meet customer needs despite food shortages and the rising rate of inflation which has left many feeling the pinch.

The Farm Retail Association (FRA) have said while supermarkets continue to ration fresh produce, they will continue to provide "a full range of fruit and vegetables."

Adding to this, Emma Mosey, owner of Minskip Farm Shop in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, said customers will find farm shop shelves fully stocked with no purchase limits.

They said, despite "hard times", the FRA will continue to pay a fair price to producers to help them keep their businesses running.

Read more: Trial underway over Gateshead nature park death of Tomasz Oleszak

The Northern Echo: FRA Chair Emma MoseyFRA Chair Emma Mosey (Image: Farm Retail Association)

Speaking on the price increases and challenges faced by farm shops and markets, Ms Mosey said: “The farm shop and farmer's markets sector is uniquely able to fill customers' baskets with amazing fresh produce, even during shortages. 

"This is because we are willing to pay a fair price to producers for their produce, which allows them to continue to sell even when times are hard.

"Therefore, customers will not only find our shelves fully stocked with no limits on purchase numbers, but they will also find the best quality for their families.“

Read more: Tribute to DPD delivery driver Andrew Coyles who died in Horden

This comes after UK inflation shot up last month as vegetable shortages pushed food prices to 45-year high according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose from 10.1 per cent in January to 10.4 per cent in February.

Adding to this, the majority of economists had expected CPI to fall to 9.9 per cent in February.

Last month, food and non-alcoholic drinks prices saw a rise of 18 per cent year-on-year, up from 16.7 per cent in January - the highest it has been since August 1977

Meanwhile, shoppers have been left feeling the effects of the increased inflation rate, alongside rising produce prices caused by shortages, with some saying their weekly shop has increased significantly.

One Darlington resident, who did not wish to be named, said their weekly shop at supermarket ALDI had greatly increased over the last six months, despite only sticking to essentials.

They said: "There has been a noticeable increase in our weekly food shop over the last six months which is consistently rising despite us not buying anything outside of our regular shop.

"In November, we were spending an average of £60 per week. Now it can cost anything from between £80-£100."

Speaking on how he's dealt with the rising costs associated with inflation and food shortages, Robin Blair, 77, owner of J J Blair and Sons, in Darlington Indoor Market, said they have started to see the associated costs ease and remain optimistic.

He said the price of produce, specifically peppers and tomatoes, has been severely affected by worse crop yields in countries such as Morocco and Spain due to poor weather.

Meanwhile, he also said due to high energy prices, suppliers in the UK and the Netherlands have not been able provide out-of-season produce due to the cost of running greenhouses necessary for growing these products.

He said: "It has affected us, but we haven't been without produce. We've had plenty of produce, but unfortunately we've [really] had to pay for it.

"It isn't just inflation, it was weather as well. Weather on the continent hasn't been good, [and] it's affected the growing, the picking side of it, and the quality as well.

"Our prices have had to go up, we don't like that, we don't want that.

"We're aiming to get as low a price as we possibly can like all retailers are."

Read more:

Get more from The Northern Echo with a Premium Plus digital subscription from as little as only £1.50 a week. Click here

He said the conditions surrounding the imported peppers and tomatoes has impacted their ability to keep, and this has resulted in higher costs.

He said in normal times, this shortage might have offered a gap in the market to English greenhouses producing these crops, but with high energy prices, this has proved too expensive.

Mr Blair also thanked and praised his customers, and said he felt fortunate that his business was able to continue trading well.