Supermarkets in the UK are introducing vegetable rationing due to poor weather conditions in southern Europe, by limiting per-customer purchases of vegetables such as iceberg lettuce and broccoli. Tesco cited bad weather in Spain as the cause of “availability issues” to justify limiting bulk purchases to three iceberg lettuces, while Morrisons is preventing bulk buying by setting a limit of two iceberg lettuces and three heads of broccoli per visit. Sainsbury’s acknowledged that bad weather conditions have affected produce, but has not placed limits on the number of vegetables that shoppers could buy.
Prices have also gone up, with iceberg lettuce at Lidl increasing from 42p to £1.19. Wholesalers have also been allegedly charging at least double the usual price for iceberg lettuce. Dieter Lloyd, from the British Leafy Salads Association, said that part of the shortage problem comes from the UK having to compete with other EU countries for limited produce. A similar association in Spain for fruit and vegetable producers (FEPEX) has said that it expects the shortage of leafy vegetables to continue until early April.
In light of the supermarket rationing of iceberg lettuces, a seller called Dave is using the online vending site Gumtree to sell a box of 12 lettuces for £50, pricing each head of lettuce for more than £4. The Birmingham seller says he wants to “beat supermarket rationing” and that the price is a “little higher” due to “supply and demand“.