Vegetable shortage continues to hit UK shoppers

8 February 2017

Shoppers are battling with rising prices and restrictions on the number of vegetables they can buy as the UK’s vegetable shortage continues.

Poor weather in the south of Spain – where the UK imports many types of vegetable from – has caused a shortage of products on supermarket shelves since the start of the year.

Supermarkets say that iceberg lettuces, broccoli and courgettes are the most commonly affected produce.


Some retailers have placed restrictions on the amount of produce each customer can buy – see below for the full table - while others have increased the price of fresh vegetables.

Sainsbury's and Tesco, for example, have limited the sale of iceberg lettuces to three per person on a temporary basis, while Morrisons has restricted the purchase of lettuces to just two and broccolis to three each. Asda is limiting consumers to six lettuce, broccolis and courgettes until further notice.

Sainsbury’s says: “Severe weather has affected crops. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause but can reassure customers that we are working hard with our suppliers to maintain supplies.”

Lidl, however, has no such restrictions, but its prices have increased in response to the rising demand.


Price comparison website MySupermarket says the cheapest iceberg lettuce available is from Asda, priced at 75p. By contrast, the most expensive comes from so-called budget retailers Aldi and Lidl, where the same product will set you back £1.19.

SupermarketIceberg lettuce restrictionsBroccoli restrictionsCourgette restrictionsWhen will restrictions end?
AsdaSix per customer (75p per item)Six per customer (40p per item)Six per customer (£1.28 per pack)Aim to “get back up to full supply as quickly as possible”
LidlNone (£1.19 per item)None (52p per item)None (£1.89 per kg)No restrictions
MorrisonsTwo per customer (£1.17 per item)Three per customer (47p per item)None (£1 per pack)As long as necessary to “maintain good supplies for our regular customers”
Sainsbury’sThree per customer (50p per item)None (45p per item)None (£1.30 per pack)“Not known at this time”
TescoThree per customer (79p per item)None (45p per item)None (£1.29 per pack)“We are hopeful conditions in Spain will improve soon”

Aldi, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose were all asked for comment but did not respond in time for publication.

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