Tinned tomatoes suppliers are rationing stocks to supermarkets after demand in the UK surged more than 30% and threatened to use up supplies ahead of this years harvest. Supermarkets and convenience store groups are understood to be jockeying for supplies as families continue to buy more tinned foods than usual after the closure of schools and restaurants forced them to cook more meals at home.
While all tinned food sales have surged, suppliers and retailers said demand for tomatoes had outstripped that for beans, soup and tinned fish or vegetables, leaving suppliers concerned about stocks running low.
David McDiarmid, a director of Princes Group, which owns the Napolina brand, confirmed it was allocating stock to its clients to ensure it could “fairly and equitably share” what is available and prevent stocks running out before the new season begins in June.
Italian tomatoes make up about three-quarters of UK stocks, according to the Grocer trade journal, and are canned between June and September.
Diego Pariotti, the head of export at Conserve Italia, which owns the Cirio tinned tomato brand, said it could meet usual order levels but not “crazy demand”. He added they had told customers: “If you dont start calming the fever we wont get to the next crop.”
Pariotti said UK shoppers had bought 30% more tinned tomatoes than usual – compared with an average 15% more in other countries. “UK consumers have to understand that if they dont go mad with stocking up for their households then products will always be on the shelves,” he said.