Asda and Morrisons begin to relax on fresh produce rationing

Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Veysey/Shutterstock (13782784a) Empty shelves in the fruit and vegetable section of a Morrisons supermarket, Harrow, London. Food Shortage, London, UK - February 25, 2023

Shoppers have seen empty aisles of fresh produce for weeks (Image: James Veysey/Shutterstock)

Some large supermarkets have started ending rationing for shoppers buying fresh fruit and veg.

Asda confirmed to that it had lifted restrictions three on cucumbers, lettuce, lettuce bags, broccoli, cauliflower and raspberries in the past week.

This leaves the three-point limit for tomatoes and peppers.

Asda added that overall availability had improved and aisle shelves should return to normal levels within weeks.

CARDIFF, WALES - JANUARY 18TH: A close up of a Morrisons shop sign on January 18th, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Morrisons is one of five major grocers rationing fruit and vegetables (Image: Getty Images Europe)

CARDIFF, WALES - FEBRUARY 25: Empty shelves in a supermarket on February 25, 2023 in Cardiff, Wales. Aldi, Asda, Morrisons and Tesco have limited the number of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers customers can buy due to shortages. The British government said this was due to extreme weather in Spain and North Africa, which has affected harvests. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Freezing weather and a lack of investment in local production have left empty shelves, experts say (Image: Getty Images Europe)

Morrisons said the retailer has lifted the cap on cucumbers.

Shoppers are now limited to just two tomatoes, lettuce and peppers in their baskets.

Since February, leading grocery chains have limited the number of some fruits and vegetables customers can buy amid shrinking stocks and turbulent weather.

It’s another worry for cash-strapped Brits during the cost of living crisis as Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi all impose limits.

Together, the five supermarkets represent around two-thirds of the UK grocer market share.

Freezing temperatures in Spain have damaged crops – a major concern for UK grocers as the country supplies the UK with most of its vegetables.

Tomatoes in particular suffered from frostbite. In Almería, tomato sales fell 22% in the first two weeks of February compared to a year earlier, said Fepex, which represents Spanish fruit and vegetable producers.

A sign limiting customers to two items at a time is seen next to packs of tomatoes at a Morrisons supermarket in Holyhead, Britain February 27, 2023. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Morrisons still limits the number of tomatoes a buyer can pick to two (Image: Reuters)

Cucumber sales plummeted 21% and pepper and eggplant sales fell by a quarter.

Experts previously told how hard it is to attribute the bottlenecks to one or two things like cold weather.

Everything from Brexit to climate change affects the food system in some way, and many supermarkets, unlike their European counterparts, rely on cheaper imports rather than local produce.

From the outset, the British Retail Consortium said fresh produce rationing would only take a few weeks.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the trade association, said: “Tough weather conditions in Southern Europe and North Africa have disrupted the harvest of some fruit and vegetables, including tomatoes and peppers.

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

“Meanwhile, some stores are introducing temporary limits on the number of products customers can purchase to ensure availability for everyone.” has reached out to Tesco, ALDI and Lidl for comment.

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Justin Scacco

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