Veg crisis causes supermarket rationing

Bad weather means some chains are operating a 'one lettuce per person' policy

Veg crisis causes supermarket rationing

Image: Ilnar Salakhiev AP/Press Association Images

Supermarkets are rationing vegetables after bad weather hit crops across Europe.

Lettuce, broccoli, butternut squash, aubergines and courgettes have been particularly affected by the shortage.

Frustrated customers have shared photographs of empty supermarket shelves on Twitter.

Meanwhile, some online shoppers have been told iceberg, romaine and sweet gem varieties of lettuce are completely out of stock.

Some Tesco and Morrisons branches are limiting sales of iceberg lettuces to three per customer because of "continued weather problems in Spain".

The vast majority of the UK's vegetables come from the city of Murcia in southeastern Spain during the winter months.

But severe flooding and freezing conditions have damaged farms across the region - causing millions of euros worth of damage and leaving the ground too soaked to grow new crops.

Price rises are possible if the weather does not improve soon, and some healthy eaters have already complained that the cost of an iceberg lettuce has nearly tripled in recent weeks.

Some supermarket chains have begun to buy in lettuces from US farms more than 5,300 miles away to address the shortage.

A Morrisons spokesman told the Daily Mail: "As a result of the fact that the Spanish harvest has been very difficult this year, we have just about enough coming in to supply our customers.

"We want to stop local tradespeople and restaurateurs coming in and buying lots of stock."

In Ireland

On the shortage, Lidl Ireland said in a statement: "Due to excellent working relationships between our suppliers, Purchasing and Supply Chain Departments Lidl is currently not experiencing the same level of difficulty as other supermarkets.

"We have been in constant contact with suppliers to work on getting as much product as possible. We are on average sitting at 97% fulfilment. There are a few lines we have less availability on than we would like (certain types of tomatoes) but on the whole we are in a strong position to offer customers the products they want."

(Additional reporting from IRN)