Supermarkets lift rationing rules on most items as data shows shoppers DIDN'T panic buy in September

SUPERMARKETS have lifted rationing rules on most groceries after research reveals shoppers didn't panic buy in September.

Despite retailers assuring customers there was no need to stockpile, Brits stripped shelves of toilet roll and cupboard staples amid fears of a winter lockdown.

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Keen to avoid chaos, Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose capped the number of certain items shoppers could buy in one go, such as toilet roll, disinfectant and pasta.

But research by investment platform Plum suggests that on the whole, shoppers didn't actually overspend last month.

Between January and February this year, shoppers spent around £18 a week on their grocery shop on average.

This shot up to £30.91 by the end of March and peaked during the first week of April to £33.20 when all but essential stores were ordered to close and people were told to stay at home.

The amount shoppers spent at the end of September had increased slightly to £21.25 compared to £19.50 at the beginning of the month, but still almost £12 short of panic buying.

As a result, Morrisons has removed limits across all goods including pasta and rice, but has said it will keep the three product limit on toilet roll and disinfectant.

Waitrose has also lifted all limits on products apart from the two per person cap on toilet roll and flour.

Tesco told The Sun that it will be keeping the rationing restrictions it applied in September in place for the foreseeable.

Flour, dried pasta, toilet roll, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes are limited to three per product per person.

Here’s how to cut the cost of your grocery shop

SAVING on your shop can make a big difference to your wallet. Here are some tips from about how you can cut the cost of your shopping bills:

  • Write yourself a list – Only buy items that you need. If it isn’t on your list, don’t put it in the trolley
  • Create a budget – Work out a weekly budget for your food shopping
  • Never shop hungry – you are far more likely to buy  more food if your tummy is rumbling
  • Don’t buy pre-chopped veggies or fruit – The extra they’ll charge for chopping can be eye watering
  • Use social media – follow your favourite retailers to find out about the latest deals
  • Be disloyal – You may want to go to different stores to find the best bargains
  • Check the small print –  It’s always worth checking the price per kg/lb/litre when comparing offers so you’re making a like for like decision as a bigger box won’t necessarily mean you get more
  • Use your loyalty cards – Don’t be afraid to sign up to them all. They all work slightly differently – work out what bonus suits you better and remember to trade in your points for additional rewards

Face coverings, eggs, flour and anti-bacterial products are also capped at three person on all online orders.

Tesco has had a limit of 80 items per online order in place since April.

According to the research by Plum, the cost of the weekly grocery shop hasn't dipped back to pre-pandemic levels.

The closest it came was on the week starting September 9, when the average weekly spend was down to £19.50 – still £1.50 above what households spent at the beginning of March.

Since July, the average weekly grocery shop has hovered between £20 and £25.

In the first few months of lockdown, the cost of tinned beans, nappies and baby food increased as demand shot up, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

But supermarkets have continued to assure shoppers that stores are far more prepared for a second lockdown if the government enforces one.

The number of online delivery slots available have dramatically increased to keep up with demand and to ensure that the elderly and vulnerable are still able to access groceries.

Andrew Opie from the British Retail Consortium which represents supermarkets, previously told The Sun: "Supply chains are stronger than ever before and we do not anticipate any issues in the availability of food or other goods under any future lockdown.

"Nonetheless, we urge consumers to be considerate of others and shop as they normally would."

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