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Aldi and Tesco start rationing fruit and vegetable sales

Rebecca Goodman
Written By:
Rebecca Goodman
Posted:
Updated:
23/02/2023

Tesco and Aldi have started rationing the number of fruit and vegetables shoppers can buy because of supply shortages.

Earlier this week, Morrisons and Asda placed a temporary limit on the number of certain items available to buy.

The shortages have been blamed on crop issues in southern Spain and North Africa.

What are the current rationing limits?

At Aldi and Tesco, shoppers are only allowed to buy three units of peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes.

An Aldi spokesperson said: “We are limiting purchases of peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes to three units per person to ensure that as many customers as possible can buy what they need.”

Asda is temporarily limiting the purchase of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflower and raspberries to three of each item per customer.

Morrisons is putting limits of two per item on tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and peppers from today.

No other supermarkets have confirmed rationing of items but it’s expected they will follow. Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose confirmed they didn’t currently have any limits in place.

Why is there a food shortage?

The reason some supermarkets are introducing rationing is because they are having problems sourcing these items. Several reasons have been given for this.

Poor weather conditions in Spain and Morocco have disrupted the harvest of some fruit and vegetables.

The UK usually imports around 95% of its tomatoes and 90% of its lettuces from these countries in the winter, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Some winter produce also comes from the UK and the Netherlands but farmers in both countries are producing less food this year because they are struggling with higher energy costs.

Changing climatic conditions, Brexit, and soaring labour costs have also been blamed for the shortages.

Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Difficult weather conditions in the South of Europe and Northern Africa have disrupted harvest for some fruit and vegetables including tomatoes and peppers.

“While disruption is expected to last a few weeks, supermarkets are adept at managing supply chain issues and are working with farmers to ensure that customers are able to access a wide range of fresh produce.

“In the meantime, some stores are introducing temporary limits on the number of products customers can buy to ensure availability for everyone.”

How long will the shortages last?

Retailers are placing limits on the numbers of some items to make sure supplies don’t run out completely.

The current shortages and rationing are temporary and they aren’t expected to be in place for a long time.

When the weather improves in the UK many of these fruits and vegetables will be available here, therefore alleviating the problem.