Tesco launches rationing on some essential items as shoppers empty shelves

Tesco has introduced a rationing system in its supermarkets, limiting customers to three items only for certain popular groceries.

The purchase limit includes loo roll, pasta, eggs, soap, nappies and baby formula, among other products.

A yellow sign was snapped over the toilet paper at a Tesco in Cambridge, which read: "To help give everyone access to essential items, these products are limited to 3 per customer."

At another shop a blue sign limited antibacterial hand wipes to just one per customer.

The supermarket giant said in a letter it was introducing the temporary cap on certain "essential" items to "help all customers have access to these products", the Mirror reports.

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"The extra limits are just pre-emptive measures to help us smooth demand rather than a reaction to change in buying behaviour or product shortages," a spokesman said.

Tesco maintains it has good stock levels, including of hand sanitiser.

The company has urged people to shop "as normal" so that everyone is able to buy what they need before Christmas.

  • Supermarket shelves empty as panic-buyers hit shops ahead of Christmas lockdown

However people are also being encouraged to shop alone to minimise the number of people packed into shops at any one time.

More than 300 of its stores across the country will be open 24 hours until Christmas Eve, while others are planning to open from 5am.

Tesco has been contacted for further comment.

The company previously introduced purchase limits in September in an attempt to prevent a shortage of stock following the panic-buying seen in the first weeks of the coronavirus lockdown.

Now the UK is facing another wave of shopping mania, with Brits posting photos of empty shelves to social media.

Customers are queuing outside shops around the nation and more than £2.5 billion has been spent at supermarkets since Monday.

December's panic-buying was prompted not only by the festive season but also the threat of food shortages after various European countries closed their borders to Britain following the discovery of a highly infectious new strain of Covid-19.

Yesterday the European Commission recommended the borders be reopened to avoid supply chain disruptions.

The onset of Brexit, now just a week away, is also adding to the stockpiling frenzy as the UK still has not managed to secure a trade deal with the EU.

If no deal is reached by 31 December, both parties could place import taxes on each other's goods, which would potentially affect grocery prices.

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