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Supermarket rationing: What you need to know

Written by: Emma Lunn
Asda and Morrisons are both limiting purchases on selected fruits and vegetables due to supply issues.

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.

Both supermarkets said the shortages were due to “sourcing challenges” of products grown in southern Spain and North Africa where poor weather has meant a bad harvest.

An Asda spokesperson said: “Like other supermarkets, we are experiencing sourcing challenges on some products that are grown in southern Spain and north Africa.

“We have introduced a temporary limit of three of each product on a very small number of fruit and vegetable lines, so customers can pick up the products they are looking for.”

Other reasons for shortages of certain products include changing climatic conditions, Brexit, and soaring energy and labour costs.

For example, British and European farmers have scaled back on producing certain foods, such as tomatoes, due to the rising cost of heating greenhouses and labour.

UK salad veg production falls to 38-year low

The National Farmers’ Union said further rationing of salad items was likely because of the impact of higher energy costs on British growers. UK production of salad, including cucumbers and tomatoes, has fallen to its lowest level since records began in 1985.

Suppliers Nationwide Produce said that during the winter season of 2022/2023 there has been a significant decrease in the production and availability of cucumbers in the areas of Almeria and Granada due to the adverse weather conditions.

When it comes to capsicum (peppers), Nationwide Product said the pepper season in Almeria has been “tremendously complicated” this year, partly due to a new virus Thrips Parispinus.

Tomato supply has been impacted by the Tomato Rough and Brown Fruit Virus (ToBRV) which has caused the collapse of some crops.

So far, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Aldi and the Co-op are not planning to introduce restrictions.

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