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Aldi latest grocer to limit tomato purchases

Discount supermarket Aldi is introducing customer limits for some fresh produce  (PA Wire)
Discount supermarket Aldi is introducing customer limits for some fresh produce (PA Wire)

Aldi has joined the list of supermarket chains putting a limit on the amount of certain fruits and vegetables customers can buy, amid industry-wide supply disruption.

A spokesman for the company, Britain’s fourth-largest grocer with more than 990 UK branches, said: “We are limiting purchases of peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes to three units per person to ensure that as many customers as possible can buy what they need.”

The move comes in the same week that Asda and Morrisons also introduced product limits on some lines.

Businesses in the sector have seen some supplies badly disrupted by winter storms and cold weather in southern Spain and north Africa where much of Britain’s fresh produce is grown in winter.

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Meanwhile the start of the usual UK growing season is likely to be held up by soaring energy bills that has delayed planting under polytunnels.

Shoppers have posted pictures of empty fruit and vegetable supermarket counters on social media.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “While disruption is expected to last a few weeks, supermarkets are adept at managing supply chain issues and are working with farmers to ensure that customers are able to access a wide range of fresh produce. In the meantime, some stores are introducing temporary limits on the number of products customers can buy to ensure availability for everyone.”

As at the morning of February 22, grocers Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, M&S, Co-op and Lidl said they have not introduced any buying limits.

The shortages have also affected some hospitality businesses. Clive Watson, chairman of City Pub Group told the Evening Standard the company had seen shortages over the weekend of some ingredients: cauliflowers, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, and courgettes.