Tesco is the first supermarket so far to bring back restrictions on food

Tesco has announced it is putting purchase limits on popular bulk-buy items, including food, as supermarkets act to prevent another round of panic buying.

In-store purchases will be limited to three items per customer for flour, dried pasta, toilet roll, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes.

Tesco is also bringing in additional three-product limits online for a small number of products such as rice and canned veg.

Yesterday, The Grocer revealed Morrisons had reintroduced purchasing limits on products including toilet rolls and disinfectant, amid fears of a repeat of the empty shelves seen in March.

However, Tesco is the first supermarket so far to bring back restrictions on food.

The Grocer understands suppliers have been reporting big spikes in demand since the government announced plans for further restrictions earlier this week, with products such as pasta seeing week-on-week uplifts of more than 20%.

One source said: “Retailers are saying there have been huge spikes across multiple product lines. Customers obviously believe there will be more draconian measures still to come.

“Demand for online is also going off the Richter scale with slots becoming harder to find now.”

Shoppers appear to have been ignoring warnings from supermarket bosses, including Tesco CEO Dave Lewis, who last week appealed for them not to stockpile.

“We have good availability, with plenty of stock to go around, and we would encourage our customers to shop as normal,” a Tesco spokeswoman said today.

“To ensure that everyone can keep buying what they need, we have introduced bulk-buy limits on a small number of products.

“To help our customers shop safely, we will also have colleagues at the entrances of our larger stores to remind customers about the safety measures we have in place, including the legal requirement to wear a face covering.”