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UK Food Shortages

Imagine making your favourite dish and not being able to buy the ingredients! Since Brexit UK food shortages have hit the shelves in major supermarkets like Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s, Asda, and many more. Rising costs have pushed farmers to reduce their output, while bad weather in the Mediterranean has limited supply for imports, or so they say!

Amid continuing food shortages in the UK, Lidl has become the latest store to restrict sales of specific fruits and vegetables. The channel, BBC News has reported that the German discount shop will cap the number of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers that each customer can purchase at three.


This is in line with similar actions taken by Tesco, Asda, and Aldi. Morrisons has gone a step further by limiting items to two per person. Tobacco packs, peppers, cucumber, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, salad bags, and raspberries are among the things Asda is restricting purchases to three per customer.


The environment secretary, Therese Coffey, has revealed that shortages of some fruit and vegetables will take two to four weeks to be resolved. Then the British Tomato Growers’ Association has said that, with the upcoming British tomato-growing season, the stocks should be replenished by the end of March or the start of April.


The food shortages come as the president of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Minette Batters, is expected to warn that time is running out for the Government to back British farming. Britain's retailers experienced supply-chain problems after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. However, things seemed to improve as Christmas approached.


Clarkson's Farm is a British television documentary series about Jeremy Clarkson and his farm in the Cotswolds, central southwest England in the county of Gloucestershire, shown on Netflix. It mentions the difficulty farmers have to overcome the hardships after Brexit. This affects planting crops, as return on investment (ROI) has suffered, and let’s face it; no one works to make a loss.

Turbulent weather in nations from where the UK receives its supply has also meant supermarkets have been unable to keep up with demand and fill their shelves. There aren't enough cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes due to the severe weather in Europe and Africa.


The UK depends on Morocco and Spain for vegetables during the winter. However, because of heavy rain and floods, suppliers have been hit by ferry cancellations, which have affected lorry transport.


Given that the UK has been experiencing food shortages on and off for the past few months, supermarkets were forced to put a restriction on egg purchases late last year. I recall when over visiting my hometown in January that there were fewer eggs on display in the supermarket. Apart from the shortage, prices were higher.


Higher fuel, feed, and fertiliser costs, as well as avian influenza outbreaks, have increased prices. The British Free Range Egg Producers Association says that the cost of feeding hens has risen by at least 50 per cent, while the price of fuel has increased by 30 per cent.

And, even though the price of eggs has increased by about 45p at supermarkets and other retailers, farmers are not benefitting from the increase.


I spoke to my mum, yesterday, and she said she’d had no difficulty receiving provisions, but then my brother who does her shopping is an early bird, someone who gets up at the crack of dawn to go shopping when supplies are still abundant.


Moral of the story, we still have it good. There is no comparison with food rationing like in the second world war when everything was counted, and allocation was skimpy! My mum's words; she's ninety-five year's old!


Have a terrific day!

Prof. Carl Boniface


Vocabulary builder:

Ferry (n) = ship, ferryboat, commuter boat, transport

Hometown (n) = birthplace, home, backyard, turf, home base, homeland

Feed (n) = food, fodder which is feedstuffs, hay, silage, forage, rations, what is used to feed animals and pets.

Early bird (idiom) = a person who rises, arrives, or acts before the usual or expected time. "He was always an early bird."

Skimpy (adj) = meagre, insufficient, inadequate, sparse, (ant) generous


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