Lidl becomes fifth supermarket to ration fruit and veg as shortages bite Brits

27 February 2023, 12:31

Lidl and empty shelves
Lidl will ration fruit and vegetables as UK-wide shortages bite stocks. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Lidl will ration fruit and vegetables as UK-wide shortages bite stocks of tomatoes, cucumbers and other dinner-table staples.

Lidl told The Mirror that the measures were introduced as a response to an "increase in demand" of peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers.

The discount supermarket caveated that there was "good availability" of the items across the UK.

Shortages have emerged as a result of cold weather in Morocco and Spain affecting harvests but some have claimed that Brexit is exacerbating the crisis due to additional supply chain constraints.

Limits are also reportedly to stop restaurant proprietors from using retail outlets as wholesalers as shortages hit.

The latest blow to UK consumers after food security expert has told LBC the UK Government is in denial about national food shortages.

Lidl sign
Lidl told The Mirror that the measures were introduced as a response to an "increase in demand" of peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Eat turnips not tomatoes: Environment Secretary tells Brits facing veg shortage as she warns of month of bare shelves

Read More: Tesco and Aldi ration veg: Two more supermarkets impose limits on tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers

The Food and Farming Minister is meeting with supermarket bosses later today, amid purchase limits on items of fresh fruit and vegetables like tomatoes and peppers.

Mark Spencer is insisting the current shortage on these items is because of poor weather in North Africa and says there is no risk to our food supplies.

But Professor Chris Elliot OBE at Queen's University in Belfast claimed it is a myth to say the shortage will be over in a matter of weeks

“This isn’t just a blip about tomatoes and fresh fruit and veg,” Professor Elliot said, “there are severe problems with supply of many types of foods coming into the UK, really highlighting how insecure the UK is in terms of its national food security.”

Empty shelves
The Food and Farming Minister is meeting with supermarket bosses later today, amid purchase limits on items of fresh fruit and vegetables like tomatoes and peppers. Picture: Alamy

Professor Elliot said things are going to get shorter and there are going to be more gaps on our supermarket shelves.

The food trade expert thinks this is happening because the UK relies too heavily on imports but is now “bottom of the queue” when purchasing from abroad.

He added: “we’ve got a wonderful food industry in the UK which does an amazing job of sourcing foods, but they’re telling me it’s getting more and more difficult. We’re just not a preferred customer anymore.”

The hit to British shops comes as photos from war-ravaged Ukraine show bountiful stocks of tomatoes and cucumbers which are being rationed in British supermarkets.

Channel Four International Editor Lindsey Hillsum posted a picture from under-fire Kherson on Thursday which showed plentiful stocks of produce on her Twitter.

Journalist John Sweeney also posted to social media from Ukraine's capital Kyiv showing plentiful stocks of tomatoes on shelves.

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