The supply crisis in the UK is leading supermarkets to resort to cardboard cut-outs of fruit, vegetables and other groceries to fill gaps on shelves. Tesco has begun using pictures of asparagus, carrots, oranges and grapes in its fresh produce aisles.
Shoppers have spotted fake carrots in Fakenham, cardboard asparagus in London, pictures of oranges and grapes in Milton Keynes, and 2D washing liquid bottles in Cambridge. Sainsbury’s has also used outline drawings of packaging to fill shelves.
The tactic comes as shortages of HGV drivers and pickers and packers on farms and food processing plants lead to low availability of some items in supermarkets. Problems at ports, where handlers are struggling to cope with a surge in deliveries for the festive season, are also leading to shortages.
Tesco, which has boasted that its sales have been boosted by its ability to keep shelves stocked, has denied that the fruit and vegetable pictures are linked to the recent supply chain issues and stated that they had been in use for many months.