People Share Pictures Of Empty Supermarket Shelves As UK Faces Tomato Shortage

The British Retail Consortium says bad weather in Europe and Africa is disrupting supplies – but some have their own ideas.

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.

Some were pointing the finger of blame at Brexit.

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.”


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