UK supermarkets limit fruit and vegetables sales

LONDON (AFP): Some UK supermarkets have introduced limits on customer purchases of some fruit and vegetables due to “sourcing challenges” blamed on weather conditions in southern Europe and north Africa, the industry said Tuesday.

The country has been experiencing a shortage of tomatoes, which has now widened to other fruit and vegetables, prompting the moves by retailers to impose limits on sales.

It follows growers and suppliers in Morocco reporting adverse conditions — cold temperatures, heavy rain and flooding — in recent weeks which have impacted produce volumes.

The bad weather, which has also affected farmers in southern Spain, saw ferries cancelled, compounding the supply problems.

“Difficult weather conditions in the south of Europe and northern Africa have disrupted harvest for some fruit and vegetables including tomatoes and peppers,” Andrew Opie of the British Retail Consortium said in a statement.

“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.”

A spokesman for Asda, one of the UK’s leading supermarkets, said it was “experiencing sourcing challenges on some products” that are grown in the region.

“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,” he added.

The limits will apply to tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflower and raspberries.

Meanwhile rival seller Morrisons said it would be introducing limits of two items per customer across tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and peppers from Wednesday.