Asda, Morrisons, Aldi, Tesco and Lidl limit sales of fresh produce amid supply issues - list of affected items

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Poor weather conditions, high energy costs and time of year have led so some empty supermarket shelves

Lidl has become the latest supermarket to limit the sales of some fruit and vegetables after a “recent increase in demand” after rival stores put their own restrictions in place.

Tesco was the fourth supermarket to limit certain salad vegetables after Aldi, Asda and Morrisons imposed purchase limits on some of the fresh fruit and vegetables customers can buy due to supply shortages.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Various contributing factors have led to supermarket shelves running empty, including poor weather conditions in Spain and Morocco, combined with high British energy costs and the time of year has led to rationing of some vegetables.

Growers and suppliers in Morocco have had to contend with cold temperatures, heavy rain, flooding and cancelled ferries over the past three to four weeks – all of which have affected the volume of fruit reaching Britain.

Production problems in Morocco began in January with unusually cold night-time temperatures that affected tomato ripening. These were compounded by ferry cancellations due to bad weather, hitting lorry deliveries.

Empty fruit and vegetable shelves at an Asda in east London with a Max 3 units signEmpty fruit and vegetable shelves at an Asda in east London with a Max 3 units sign
Empty fruit and vegetable shelves at an Asda in east London with a Max 3 units sign | PA

The British Retail Consortium said Britain typically imports 95% of its tomatoes and 90% of lettuces from December to March, and the cooler weather this winter in Morocco and Spain has meant tomatoes are taking longer to grow, with tomato volumes from Spain’s Almeria region being 22% lower than in February last year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Producers have also reported having to cut back on their use of greenhouses due to higher electricity prices. However, UK producers are beginning to move into their growing season, which is expected to ease the longer term situation as retailers also look to alternatives to produce from Spain and northern Africa.

The UK is particularly vulnerable to fresh produce shortages at this time of year as it is a period when UK and northern European food production is at its lowest across most types of fruit and vegetables. Most domestic farms don’t tend to undertake meaningful harvesting of most crops until late spring.

The move to ration some fresh produce in supermarkets comes following a warning from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) that a range of British vegetables risk being rationed as farmers struggle with high energy costs.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, a trade body that represents UK supermarkets, said: “Difficult weather conditions in the south of Europe and northern Africa have disrupted harvest for some fruit and vegetables including tomatoes and peppers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“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.”

Which items are being rationed at supermarkets?

Asda

Asda is temporarily limiting the purchase of the following fruit and veg items to three of each product per customer:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Salad bags
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Raspberries

An Asda spokesman 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."

Morrisons

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Morrisons is temporarily limiting the following fresh produce from 22 February to two items per customer:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Peppers 

Aldi

Aldi is temporarily limiting the number of following produce to three per person:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumber

Tesco

Tesco is temporarily limiting the number of following produce to three per person:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumber

Lidl

Lidl has imposed a limit of three items per customer on:

  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers

A spokesman said :“While we still have good availability across the majority of our stores, due to a recent increase in demand we have taken the decision to temporarily limit the purchase of peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers to three items per person.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“This will help to ensure that all of our customers have access to the products they need.”

Rival supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer currently do not have any limits in place.

However, other supermarkets are understood to be considering similar temporary measures.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.