Supermarkets limit purchases of iceberg lettuce and broccoli due to vegetable shortage

Supermarkets have begun to ration the amount of lettuce and broccoli customers can buy, due to poor weather conditions in Southern Europe and a subsequent food shortage.

Next time you go grocery shopping, you might be surprised to see signs up in some supermarkets limiting the number of lettuce and broccoli heads you can buy.

Supermarkets Tesco and Morrisons have put measures in place to cope with a shortage of the two vegetables, blaming it on the poor weather conditions in Southern Europe.

One notice in a Tesco supermarket read: ‘Due to continued weather problems in Spain there is a shortage of iceberg lettuce.

‘To protect the availability to all our customers, we are limiting bulk purchases to three per person. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.’

Morrisons have also limited customer purchases to two icebergs and three broccoli heads per person, to prevent bulk buys.

Why is there a vegetable shortage?

Flooding in Spain and a cold snap of weather in January is to blame for the low stock of some vegetables, according to Dieter Lloyd from the British Leafy Salads Association.

He told the BBC that heavy rain in Spain before Christmas had caused floods that damaged crops. Following that, grounds were too wet to grow a new batch of crops, and the cold weather in January stopped farmers from planting.

‘Southern Spain provides around 80% of the fresh produce for the EU out of season, so it is not just the UK,’ the expert told BBC Radio 5Live.

‘There are still stocks coming in, albeit at a reduced rate – I have seen it is as low as 30-50% of what we normally have – but the challenge is we are not the only people buying it. With Germany, France and the rest of the EU too, the people who are prepared to pay are going to get it.’

The shortage of Spanish-grown leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and spinach, is expected to continue until early April, according to the Spanish association of fruit and vegetable producers (FEPEX).

Have you been affected by the vegetable shortage? Let us know in the comments!