Supermarkets have started to ration Lettuce, broccoli, butternut squash, aubergines and courgettes – blaming poor growing conditions in Europe for a shortage.

Dieter Lloyd, from the British Leafy Salads Association, told the BBC that flooding in Spain before Christmas had damaged crops, and grounds were then too wet to grow a fresh batch.

The problem was compounded by a cold snap of weather in January, stopping farmers going out and planting.

“Southern Spain provides around 80% of the fresh produce for the EU out of season, so it is not just the UK,” he told BBC Radio 5Live.

“There are still stocks coming in, albeit at a reduced rate – I have seen it is as low as 30-50% of what we normally have – but the challenge is we are not the only people buying it.

“With Germany, France and the rest of the EU too, the people who are prepared to pay are going to get it.”

And Mr Lloyd said there was not a clear end in sight to the shortage.

(Image: Rob Gregory)