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Tesco to sell perfect ‘green’ lemons to help customers facing UK shortage and cut down on food waste

Tesco is to help prevent a potential lemon shortage by putting a greener version of the fruit on its supermarket shelves.


Despite the skin being slightly green the fruit is still as crisp and zesty as you’d find as when they completely turn yellow.

But now Tesco has lifted the colour quality specifications for lemons in a move that will also help offset food waste in the home by adding up to an extra two days shelf life to the fruit as it turns yellow.

The shortage has been caused by significantly reduced end of season volume in Spain, from where the UK gets the bulk of its lemons until the end of spring, which has reduced availability to UK retailers.

Traditionally in late June the South African lemon season starts which then takes over as the UK’s main supply source.

But Tesco will now take the greener South African lemons earlier than usual to keep supplies going.

Tesco citrus fruit buyer Savia Weidinger explains:

“These greener lemons that we now have on sale are already mature and perfect tasting inside but need longer for the skin to turn yellow.   

“With the South African crop that happens towards the end of June as evenings cool which helps the fruit to colour up.

“The move not only means that shoppers will again be easily able to buy a fruit that is growing in popularity but they will gain extra freshness.”

The move should be popular with customers as lemons have jumped in popularity by nearly 10 per cent in the last year with more people using them in recipes and juicing.

Tesco has committed to making sure no good food goes to waste and works with farmers and suppliers to adjust crop specifications.

The greener lemons will be available in 800 tesco stores across the UK.


Tesco is proud of its action on tackling food waste. Other recent food waste initiatives by Tesco include:

Perfectly Imperfect

In March 2016 Tesco launched its ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ range of wonky fruit and vegetables – using produce that falls outside of our specifications to offer to customers at lower prices.

The range, which includes apples, pears, potatoes, parsnips, cucumbers, courgettes, strawberries and frozen mixed berries, benefits suppliers and has proved exceptionally popular with customers.

Crop flushes

In spite of our advanced forecasting and ordering systems, at certain times of the year we have to manage crop flushes, or ‘bumper crops’. 

Last summer there was an unexpected bumper crop of strawberries and we worked with our suppliers to make sure none went to waste by selling them at market-leading prices in kilo boxes.

Community Food Connection

In 2016 we launched Community Food Connection. This is a programme in partnership with food redistribution charity FareShare and social enterprise FoodCloud which connects Tesco stores to local charities and community groups allowing us to redistribute food that’s leftover at the end of the day.


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