A MAJOR supermarket is placing limits on the purchase of fruits and vegetables due to shortages of fresh produce.

Asda has introduced a limit of three per customer on the purchase of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, bags of salad, broccoli, cauliflower and raspberries.

In recent days customers in many supermarkets across Scotland have reported empty shelves, with supplies of tomatoes and peppers appearing to be particularly impacted.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), supermarkets across the country are being affected by supply chain issues due to extreme weather conditions in Europe and North Africa, which has disrupted the harvest of some fruits and vegetables.

A spokesperson for Asda said: “Like other supermarkets, we are experiencing sourcing challenges on some products that are grown in southern Spain and north Africa."

The BRC has said that supply issues are expected to last for “a few weeks”.

Other supermarkets are understood to be considering similar temporary measures.

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Since Brexit, the UK has been increasingly reliant upon Morocco for the supply of certain foods.

Indeed, in 2021 the British Embassy reported that 25% of the tomatoes eaten in the UK came from Morocco and that since January 2021 food exports from Morocco to the UK have increased by nearly 40%.

However, the North African country has been hit with cold temperatures, flooding and cancelled ferries in recent weeks, causing disruption for supermarkets in the UK.

Spain has also been hit with poor weather, which has impacted their tomato crop.

Volatile growing conditions due to climate change and the increasing cost of energy have also been highlighted as reasons for the shortage.

In order to produce tomatoes for supermarkets in the UK greenhouses have to be heated up to 20c, with some reports suggesting that an increase in heating costs is making this unfeasible for some growers.