Aldi to lift restrictions on fresh produce as shortages ease

Aldi said it will remove all limits on customers buying fresh produce as the supply problems that led to widespread shortages begin to ease.

The supermarket joins Lidl and Asda in lifting restrictions.

Aldi said in a statement on Saturday: “Starting Monday (March 13), Aldi will remove all purchase restrictions on fresh produce, including limits on tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.”

Lidl will also lift all restrictions on fruit and vegetables from Monday.

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Tesco, Aldi and Lidl limited purchases of peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers to three items per person (PA)

Asda said it removed limits of three for cucumbers, lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflower and raspberries, leaving restrictions of three for tomatoes and peppers.

The supermarket said overall availability has improved as expected and supplies of tomatoes and peppers are expected to return to normal in a couple of weeks.

Buyers began seeing tomato shortages around February 20, with retailers saying a combination of bad weather and related transport problems in North Africa and Europe were causing significant supply problems.

The shortage spread to other produce, leaving shelves empty of fresh produce, including cucumbers, peppers and lettuce.

Tesco, Aldi and Lidl limited purchases of peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers to three items per person, while Morrisons set a limit of two per customer on tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and peppers.

Production problems in Morocco began in January with unusually cold night temperatures affecting tomato ripening.

Growers and suppliers in Morocco then had to deal with heavy rain, flooding and canceled ferries, all of which affected the volume of produce reaching Britain.

Supplies from Britain’s other major winter source, Spain, were also badly affected by the weather.

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Environment Secretary Therese Coffey suggested that people lacking imported foods such as tomatoes could eat more turnips (Jacob King/PA)

These were compounded by ferry cancellations as weather affected truck deliveries.

Domestic producers also reported that they had to reduce the use of greenhouses due to higher electricity prices.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey made headlines when, when asked about the shortage, she suggested that British consumers should eat more turnips instead of imported food.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) said shortages of some fruit and vegetables in UK supermarkets could be “the tip of the iceberg”.

Vice President Tom Bradshaw said the reliance on imports has left the UK vulnerable to “shock weather events”.

He said the UK had “reached a tipping point” and needed to “take control of the food we produce” amid “volatility around the world” caused by the war in Europe and climate change.


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