Supermarkets are using cardboard cut-outs of groceries in a bid to disguise gaps on the shelves.
Tesco has added pictures of asparagus, carrots, oranges and grapes in some stores where fresh fruit and vegetables are in short supply.
The apparent lack of produce has prompted ridicule on social media, with one person commenting: ‘Mmmm delicious photos of asparagus’.
Another customer joked about seeing cardboard carrots at a Tesco in Fakenham, Norfolk while shoppers also reported seeing pictures of fruit in Milton Keynes.
And one store in Cambridge used 2D pictures of washing liquids after appearing to run out of the popular products.
Tesco told Metro.co.uk that fresh food images are kept available for selected larger stores to use when there is additional space.
The pictures have been in use for many months and are not connected to the supply chain challenges faced by Britain, Tesco said, insisting overall availability remains strong.
Sainsbury’s has also used outlines of packaging including bottles on cardboard displays where product ranges are empty.
The displays are used by stores while waiting for their next delivery to arrive, a spokesperson told Metro.co.uk, adding: ‘Our colleagues and suppliers are working hard to make sure customers can find everything they need when they shop with us.
‘Availability in some product categories may vary but alternatives are available and stores continue to receive deliveries daily.’
Almost a quarter struggled to find non-essential food items, the research found.
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