First it was toilet roll, then flour. Now UK shoppers have decried a “national Easter egg shortage”, with disappointed shoppers taking to social media to share stories of unwelcome egg hunts and pictures of empty supermarket shelves.

Many said they had visited several local supermarkets without success. One Twitter user said her sister had visited 10 shops and returned empty-handed.

Some users drew comparisons with last year’s toilet paper shortage, when people began stockpiling due to concerns around availability due to the coronavirus pandemic. One shopper tweeted: “I thought the toilet paper shortage of 2020 was bad, but now we have the Easter egg shortage of 2021! All the shops have sold out … It is an outrage!”

Another shared a picture of empty shelves in a Waitrose in Norwich, saying: “I should have bought mine at new year.”

Rachel Hore

Easter Egg shelves in Norwich Waitrose. I should have bought mine at New Year.

April 2, 2021

Their concerns are not unfounded. Asda said it was on track to sell a record 19m Easter eggs this year – 3m more than last year. The supermarket said customers were taking home an average of four eggs each, and appeared to be beginning preparations for the holiday earlier than usual.

And it’s not just eggs: Asda said it had seen a surge in hot cross buns, individual chocolate bunnies and even novelty bunny ears, while sales of Easter crafting, decorations and games were up a whopping 207% year on year.

“We still have eggs available in store, but we recommend that shoppers don’t leave it to the last minute as we have seen a rise in demand this year. As Covid restrictions continue, we know our customers are looking to treat themselves and find new ways to celebrate this Easter,” a spokesperson for the supermarket said, adding that this Easter was expected to be the biggest yet.

On Saturday, a message on Marks & Spencer’s website warned that “due to high demand, some of our iconic Easter eggs have sold out online” and recommended that shoppers visit their nearest store to access the full range. Many Easter eggs on the Cadbury’s website were also out of stock.

Empty Easter egg shelves in the Windsor branch of Waitrose.

Empty Easter egg shelves in the Windsor branch of Waitrose. Photograph: @stephenfarrow/Stephen Farrow

A thread on Mumsnet entitled “Easter eggs – none left” had almost 600 posts on Saturday afternoon, with many parents commenting that they had visited numerous supermarkets without success.

One user said that the aisles looked “like … locusts have ravaged it”.

By Tuesday, Britons had splashed nearly £50m more on Easter treats including chocolate eggs and hot-cross buns. One expert suggested people may be making more of the occasion while preparing for long-awaited reunions with family and friends.

This content first appear on the guardian

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