We've all seen the bare shelves as we've trudged through the aisles, desperately trying to make eye contact with the uniformed worker who might be able to save our dinner.

“No,” he replies, with an air of resignation and the tone of a person answering a question for the 274th time that day. “We’ve run out of cucumbers.”

That’s strange, you think, as you walk away. Is there a shortage? When was the last time you even saw an elusive cucumber? In fact, when was the last time you saw a pepper either…?

Today Asda confirmed our worst fears.

Having survived The Great Toilet Paper Panic of 2020, the petrol shortages of 2022 and watched shoppers fight over bottles of Prime in Lidl, we are now in the midst of another crisis.

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Break it to me gently.

Asda has today announced that they are limiting the sale of fresh fruit and vegetables amid major shortages. Numerous products, notably tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, are in short supply.

Wait, how am I going to make that tasty, healthy salad to put inside my burger?

With great difficulty. Lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflower and even raspberries also under threat.

Is this another Brexit thing?

Apparently not. The shortages are being blamed on extreme weather conditions in Spain and North Africa, with floods, snow and hail affecting harvests and supply chains. Several commentators have pointed out that the UK seems to have been hit particularly badly while European supermarkets seem to be unaffected. The reasons for this are said to be the UK’s low domestic production rates and “complex supply chains”.

So Brexit then..?

Actually, high energy prices are also being blamed for shortages as farmers in the UK and Netherlands have cut back on their use of greenhouses to grow winter crops with costs too high. Another factor is said to be last year’s European heatwave which impacted on the production of onions in particular. The vegetables are usually grown in the summer and put in storage.

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How long will shortages of fresh fruit and vegetables last?

Director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, Andrew Opie said that the disruption is expected to last for "a few weeks". Mr Opie added that 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".

That all sounds fine, but excuse us for thinking that the reality could be somewhat different…

Those of us who remember people filling entire shopping trolleys with bread and loo roll during the pandemic or stockpiling Parmesan after the Brexit vote, have had their faith in their fellow man badly dented. When the going gets tough the tough apparently get to the front of the queue, buy as much as they can carry and then resell the excess on Amazon.