Tesco has introduced a temporary purchase limit on a number of essential items after panicked shoppers left some shelves stripped bare.
Customers have been urged not to panic buy in the run up to Christmas, amid fears of food shortages due to the backlog of lorries stranded at the Channel after France banned entry for UK freight.
Shoppers have also been buying extra due to the threat of another Covid lockdown, thanks to a new mutated strain of coronavirus.
Limits on ‘essentials’
Tesco is introducing a temporary cap on certain ‘essential’ items to prevent people from stockpiling, The Mirror reports.
The cap will mean customers will not be able to buy more than one pack of toilet rolls, and can only purchase up to three packs of eggs, rice and soap at one time.
The measures mirror previously introduced limits earlier this year, which saw supermarket shelves left empty during the first national lockdown, back in March.
Items including flour, dried pasta, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes have been limited for several months, but the cap on the new items has been put in place on and off since April and were last in force just last month in November.
A Tesco spokesman said, "The extra limits are just preemptive measures to help us smooth demand rather than a reaction to change in buying behaviour or product shortages.
“Hand gels and sanitiser remain unlimited.”
The supermarket has also urged people to shop alone to help reduce the number of customers in stores, and minimise queues.
‘No material shortage of food’
Cabinet Minister Robert Jenrick has urged shoppers to avoid panic buying ahead of Christmas, telling Sky News that the backlog of lorries in Kent “is an issue” to supply chains but “there is no material shortage of food.”
The Communities Secretary said that as of 7pm on Tuesday (22 Dec), there were just under 3,000 lorries at the disused airfield site at Manston in Kent.
The French travel ban has now been lifted after days of discussion, but drivers trapped at the border will need to be tested before being allowed into the country. Arrivals must have tested negative for Covid-19 in the last 72 hours, using a rapid test.
Mr Jenrick said it would take “a few days” to test all of the drivers before they can travel to France, but hoped that this morning would see people crossing the Channel.
He added, “If we all behave rationally, if we all just shop for what we need for Christmas in the normal way there shouldn’t be any problem whatsoever.”
Scotland’s First Minister also quashed concerns regarding food supplies, stating she has no worries about shortages in the country because of the delays.
Addressing MSPs, Nicola Sturgeon said, “We have no immediate concerns about food supplies. Supermarkets are well stocked. And so there is absolutely no need for anyone to buy more than planned.”