Shoppers started seeing shortages of tomatoes around the 20th of February
Supermarkets have started to drop customer limits on buying some fresh fruit and vegetables as supply issues that led to widespread shortages begin to ease.
Discounted grocer Lidl is the latest to confirm it is lifting all restrictions on fruit and veg by Monday.
The supermarket said it had been closely reviewing the situation but availability remained strong even amid an increase in demand.
Asda confirmed it had removed limits of three on cucumbers, lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflower and raspberries, leaving restrictions of three on just tomatoes and peppers.
The supermarket said availability overall had improved as expected, and supplies of tomatoes and peppers were expected to be back to normal within a couple of weeks.
Shoppers started seeing shortages of tomatoes around February 20, with retailers saying a combination of bad weather and related transport problems in north Africa and Europe were causing significant supply problems.
The shortages spread to other products, leaving shelves bare of fresh produce items including cucumbers, peppers and lettuce.
Tesco, Aldi and Lidl limited purchases of peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers to three items per person, while Morrisons set a limit of two per customer on tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and peppers.
Production problems in Morocco began in January with unusually cold night-time temperatures which affected tomato ripening.
Growers and suppliers in Morocco then had to contend with heavy rain, flooding and cancelled ferries – all of which affected the volume of fruit reaching Britain.
Supplies from Britain’s other major winter source, Spain, were also badly affected by weather.
These were compounded by ferry cancellations due to the weather hitting lorry deliveries.
Domestic producers also reported having to cut their use of greenhouses due to higher electricity prices.
Environment Secretary Therese Coffey made headlines when, asked about the shortages, she suggested British consumers should eat more turnips instead of imported food.
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said shortages of some fruit and vegetables in UK supermarkets could be “the tip of the iceberg”.
Deputy president Tom Bradshaw said a reliance on imports has left the UK vulnerable to “shock weather events”.
He said the UK had “hit a tipping point” and needed to “take command of the food we produce” amid “volatility around the world” caused by the war in Europe and climate change.
Published: 10/03/2023 by Radio NewsHub