Supermarkets told to ‘introduce rationing’ of cupboard staple after supply issue
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Supermarkets have been urged to introduce rationing after it was revealed suppliers are running low on one specific cupboard staple.
The popular cooking ingredient and pasta sauce essential – tinned tomatoes – are said to be in low supply, reports The Grocer.
This comes after three years of poor harvests, which mean suppliers have imposed limits on how much each supermarket receives to avoid stocks running out before the next harvest begins in August.
MyLondon reports that tomato suppliers first began rationing retailers in April last year.
This came as panic-buying by shoppers put a huge demand on supplies.
Conserve Italia, which owns brands including Cirio, has advised supermarkets to remove promotions to try and reduce shopper demand.
Diego Pariotti, export commercial and marketing director at Conserve Italia, said: “We are basically out of stock on every single line because for the last three years we didn’t have enough to satisfy demand.”
Italy supplies more than three quarters of the UK’s tomatoes each year, according to official customs data, followed by the next biggest supplier, Spain.
The shortages mean there have been a 20% increase on wholesale prices and could increase by as much as 50% according to Jason Bull, director at Eurostar Commodities.
There have also been some reports of food fraud in recent months.
Back in April, Italian police claimed they had found over 4,400 tonnes of Petti Passata tomato products to be incorrectly labelled as “100% Italian”.
Petti Passata, which supplies UK customers including Ocado, has assured its customers the goods sold to them were genuine.
Diego Pariotti has claimed that continual cost cutting and promotions to entice customers also devalues the product and increases the risk of this type of fraud.
He said: “Unfortunately, if you want a proper Italian product from a company that is respecting the rules, you need to pay for it. You cannot always use it as an attraction to get your customers into the stores.”
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Even though there are fears of shortages, some supermarkets have responded by saying they won't be rationing tomato products.
Sainsbury's and Asda say customers will be able to shop as usual.
Daily Star has contacted Tesco and Morrisons too – and we are awaiting a response at the time of publication.
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