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Salad crisis: Man sells lettuce on Gumtree for £50

The photo of the lettuce on Gumtree in Acocks Green Credit: Seller Dave

A Birmingham man is selling 12 lettuce on Gumtree for £50 – as he tells shoppers: “Beat the supermarket rationing”.

The seller, identified only as Dave, gave his location as Acocks Green.

His sales pitch made it clear he had hiked the price to take advantage of the rationing introduced by superstores after supplies from southern Europe were hit by floods, snow and storms.

Alongside a picture of the dozen Iceberg lettuce in a box, Dave wrote:

A box of a dozen Iceberg lettuce, freshly picked this morning. There are a national shortage of these beauties so the price is a little higher due to supply and demand.

– Seller Dave

The advertised price works out at £4.16 per lettuce. Sainsbury’s was advertising an iceberg lettuce for just 50p on its website on Friday morning – but the product was not available to order.

Supermarkets have rationed the number of lettuces each customer can buy in stores and iceberg, sweet gem and romaine varieties have been taken off sale completely by some online.

Experts warned the problem may continue until April, if the weather in Italy, Grece and Turkey did not improve in the coming weeks – with customers hit by price rises.

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Concerned healthy eaters shared pictures of bare supermarket shelves with the hashtags #lettucecrisis and #courgettecrisis, while complaining that prices had nearly tripled in recent weeks.

London retail analyst Rob Gregory posted a photo on Twitter of empty boxes in a Tesco and a sign that read: “Due to continued weather problems in Spain, there is a shortage on Iceberg and other varied lettuce products. “To protect the availability for all customers, we are limiting bulk purchases to three per person.”

He tweeted:

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Spain normally supplies half the vegetables on the European market during the winter months.

Supermarkets have been forced to look as far afield as the US west coast – more than 5,300 miles from Britain – to meet demand.

A Tesco spokesman said they were “experiencing some availability issues” due to the bad weather in Spain

“[We] are working with our suppliers to resolve them as quickly as possible,” he said.

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