Following severe shortage of supplies, major supermarkets Morrisons and Tesco have started rationing the number of lettuce and broccoli shoppers can buy. This comes after Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Asda have increased the prices of iceburg lettuce in January 2017. Recent snowfall and flood in Spain- from where most of the greens are imported to the UK- is attributed to be the major reason behind the shortage, which according to industry experts is the “worst supply situation in the UK in decades”.
Morrisons has announced that shoppers would only be able to buy three heads of broccoli and three iceberg lettuces from all of its stores. Meanwhile some Tesco stores are limiting the number by three lettuces per person. On the supermarket’s online store, many of the everyday vegetables are listed as unavailable. Markets offering more money than the UK to Spanish farmers, including Germany, Russia, and Denmark have not been affected by this shortage.
Spain has lost more than 80 percent of its yield due to the bad weather condition. Floods have washed away planted crops and turned fields into lakes. Mud has washed over level fields with crop and those fields due to be planted, have become rivers of mud. The shortage is expected to last six to eight weeks, until the next produce is ready for harvest, latest by the first week of April. Market analysts expect shortage of other vegetables like cauliflower, cucumbers, courgettes, oranges, peppers and tomatoes in the country as most of them are imported from the flood hit region.
A Morrisons spokesman said: “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, restaurateurs, coming in and buying lots of stock. “It is important that there is good availability for our customers.”
A Tesco spokesman said: “Due to bad weather conditions in Spain, we are experiencing a few availability issues, but are working with our suppliers to resolve them as quickly as possible.”