Asda and Morrisons are rationing sales of some fruit and vegetables following supply chain shortages which have been caused by a bad harvest.
Asda is temporarily limiting the number of tomato packs, peppers, cucumber lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflower and raspberries to three of each item per customer, while Morrisons said it would be imposing a limit of two on affected products.
Shoppers at some of the UK’s leading supermarkets have been reporting empty shelves and gaps in supply over the past week, describing the lack of fresh produce as “unacceptable”.
The shortages have been caused by ‘difficult weather conditions’ in southern Spain and north Africa leading to a bad harvest.
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“Like other supermarkets, we are experiencing sourcing challenges on some products that are grown in southern Spain and north Africa,” an Asda spokesman said.
“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.”
Morrisons also said that its supply of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and peppers has been affected.
The move comes on the back of a warning from the National Farmers Union that vegetables being produced in the UK also risk being rationed as farmers continue to struggle with high energy costs.
NFU president Minette Batters revealed that production of fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers – which are often grown in heated greenhouses across the UK – was already falling.
“Everybody wants to avoid rationing, effectively, which is what we saw with eggs in December,” she told Sky News earlier today, adding that she believes there will be “challenges on availability” of some food items,” particularly salad vegetables which are typically grown indoors.
Farming minister Mark Spencer has acknowledged that there are “huge pressures” on the farming sector, but while he did not expect to see rationing, he also did not rule out the possibility.
“I’m not saying that we’re going to see rationing. What I’m saying is we want to try and work with UK producers to try and produce as much food domestically as possible.”
It is believe that other supermarkets are also considering imposing similar limits.