Shoppers in Sheffield tour supermarkets for goods as shortages continue

Shoppers in Sheffield say they are having to visit multiple supermarkets to get their fruit and vegetables as shortages continue.

Shortages of items like cucumbers and tomatoes have resulted in supermarkets such as Tesco, Aldi, Asda and Morrisons limiting purchases of certain fruit and vegetables.

Tesco has enforced a three-per-person rule on tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

The products most affected are tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, raspberries and some shoppers have also noticed eggs missing from shelves.

Tesco Extra, Burngreave is limiting tomatoes to three per person

Talia, 22, a University of Sheffield student, said: “There’s a few things I want that I don’t have, I wanted kale but there is no kale and I don’t know where the avocados are.”

The shortages are leaving shoppers in Sheffield empty-handed or having to visit several supermarkets to find what they need.

Louise McCann , 39, a radiographer from Sheffield said: “It was a bit shocking when I first walked through.

“I did think to myself I’m going to have to start growing my own soon.”

Empty baskets at Tesco Extra, Burngreave at 5pm Monday 27th February

The shortages are being caused in part by poor weather conditions abroad in North Africa and Spain where the UK imports most of its fruit and vegetables from. According to the British Retail Consortium (BRT) in winter the UK imports around 95% of their tomatoes from Spain and North Africa.

Domestic produce has also been hit by the cost of living crisis with the high electricity prices making growing fruit and vegetables in greenhouses significantly more expensive. This has also impacted the Netherlands where the UK also gets its produce from.

There has been speculation over Brexit and the Ukraine invasion also being contributing factors.

Pam Ballance, 60, a former carer said: “I think it is partly because of transportation but also because we are so used to having access to them all year when we probably shouldn’t.”

Tesco Extra, Burngreave, Monday 5pm. Out of stock tomatoes

The shortages are expected to last two to four weeks as supermarkets manage the poor harvests from abroad and the weather in Morocco returns to normal. Tomato season in Britain also begins in late March and The British Tomato Growers Association has said it is expecting “significant volumes” of British tomatoes to hit shelves by the end of March.

In Sheffield things are already looking up with the Lidl which opened earlier this week having a good stock of fruits and vegetables.

Lidl customer Valerie Moore, 73, a retired nurse from Sheffield, said: “There are plenty of tomatoes here, they put the shortages on the news but I think they are just frightening people.”

The new Sheffield city centre Lidl on Tuesday at 12pm – with a good stock of tomatoes

Written by Amy Stowe

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