People Share Pictures Of Empty Supermarket Shelves As UK Faces Tomato Shortage
Pictures of empty shelves in supermarkets are being shared on social media as the UK faces a shortage of tomatoes.
Shoppers across the country have vented their frustration as industry commentators point to bad weather in Europe and Africa for disrupted supplies.
Growers and suppliers in Morocco have had to contend with cold temperatures, heavy rain, flooding and cancelled ferries over the past three to four weeks – all of which have affected the volume of fruit reaching Britain.
Supplies from Britain’s other major winter source, Spain, have also been badly affected by weather.
Production problems in Morocco began in January with unusually cold night-time temperatures that affected tomato ripening.
These were compounded by ferry cancellations due to bad weather, affecting lorry deliveries.
The shortages are understood to be resulting in industry-wide gaps on shelves in the UK.
Still not a single tomato available at Morrisons, Bath this afternoon. Exactly same situation last Friday. And this is their main supermarket in the city, not a Morrisons Local. pic.twitter.com/k4Y2HqwoyQ
— Philip O'Connor (@PhilipOConnor5) February 20, 2023
I'm sorry, @tesco this is not good enough in your Dalmarnock store on a Friday afternoon 😔 Lots more shelves with empty boxes throughout the store. Rising prices are bad enough but lack of basic foodstuffs is unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/udetX5ufUw
— Cllr Andrea Cowan (@AndreaCowanSNP) February 18, 2023
We just need to wait for the tomatoes from Venezuela and all will be well pic.twitter.com/DAY7h2NsVS
— Poptunes (@Catofbengals) February 19, 2023
Some were pointing the finger of blame at Brexit.
Just like so many other supermarkets across the country, the tomato section at Waitrose in Surbiton is empty. Even the expensive Natoora brand is out of stock. This is a direct and practical result of Brexit. pic.twitter.com/Ww8y44nutO
— Alex Folkes (@alexfolkes) February 20, 2023
This is the kind of scene we saw during the worst of the pandemic. Only this time it is due to Brexit pic.twitter.com/UswDZsjcpo
— Best for Britain (@BestForBritain) February 20, 2023
Benefits of Brexit #94: the tomato aisle at @tesco Shrewsbury, Saturday lunchtime. pic.twitter.com/nGG2AfSqhg
— C P Jenkinson #FBPE (@CPJenkinson1) February 18, 2023
I went into sainburrys last night. No eggs, no tomato the shelves weee completely empty. Prices of food that was available was sky high. Brexit Britain. Total disaster https://t.co/6nXDM60F5D
— Alegra Mel ( royal correspondent👑😜) (@alegrafitzgera1) February 18, 2023
My local Lidl in Wiltshire just 15 minutes ago. This is where the tomatoes, peppers usually are. Other areas of fresh produce are also pretty bare.
Nuffink to do wi’ Brexit though, is it?
— Ted Smith 🇪🇺 🇺🇦 #BrexitBrokeBritain (@TedUrchin) February 19, 2023
Morocco has become a more important source of food for the UK since Brexit.
In 2021, the British Embassy in Morocco said the country provided “25% of tomatoes eaten in the UK”, and that “since January 2021, food exports from (Morocco) to the (UK) have increased by almost 40%”.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, with represents UK supermarkets, said: “Difficult weather conditions in the south of Europe and northern Africa have disrupted harvest for some fruit and vegetables including tomatoes.
“However, 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.”