Supermarkets run out of turnips online after Tory minister tells Brits to eat them to avoid shortages

Turnips  (PA)
Turnips (PA)

Several supermarkets have run out of turnips after the Government advised families to eat them to avoid food shortages.

A string of supermarkets have introduced limits on sales of produce because of shortages caused by ruined harvests, disrupted travel routes and high energy costs.

In response to the crisis, environment secretary Therese Coffey said Britons should “cherish” seasonal foods like turnips while the shortage of tomatoes and other fresh produce continues.

Turnips are now reportedly out of stock on the Waitrose and Tesco websites, with the latter pointing customers in the direction of Swede instead.

Ms Coffey responded positively on Thursday after being told by a Conservative MP that supermarkets were importing too many products and that people should be eating more homegrown food.

Selaine Saxby, the MP for North Devon, said in the Commons: "The supermarkets are still importing far too many products for us and actually we should be eating more seasonally and supporting our own British farmers.

"If we were actually to move to a seasonal line of eating, many of these problems would be avoided. Great food products are available from local farmers at this time."

Ms Coffey replied: "It’s important to make sure that we cherish the specialisms that we have in this country. A lot of people would be eating turnips right now rather than thinking necessarily about aspects of lettuce and tomatoes and similar, but I’m conscious that consumers want a year-round choice and that is what our supermarkets, food producers and growers around the world try to satisfy."

Ms Coffey said it might be a month before the shortages were resolved.

"It is important that we try and make sure that we get alternative sourcing options," she said. "That is why the department has already been in discussion with the retailers. It is why there will be further discussions led by ministers as well, so that we can try and get over this and try and avoid similar situations in the future."

Ms Coffey also suggested in the Commons that people struggling to afford food could consider working more hours.

Tesco and Waitrose have been contacted for comment.