Tesco puts one item limit on essentials at some Express stores

Tesco rationing stockpiling panic buying covid-19
The one-item limit has been applied to essentials such as boxes of eggs, loaves and toilet rolls
// Tesco limits essential products to one per person across many Express stores
// The limit applies to products such as eggs, loaves of bread, and toilet rolls
// The new rule comes after customers continued to stockpile

Tesco has reportedly limited its customers to just one item of essential products per person across many of its Express stores as Covid-19 continues to prompt retailers into making changes.

The Big 4 grocer had initially rationed its goods to five per person but later capped this to three per person, with the exception of painkillers and toilet rolls, which are restricted to two items per customer, The Sunday Times reported.

With the new one-item limitation, Tesco aims to further help alleviate the stockpiling issue that has resulted in stripped shelves across supermarkets in the UK.


At a branch of Tesco Express in Walthamstow, East London, the one-item limit has been applied to boxes of eggs, loaves and toilet rolls.

Signs on shelves read: “To help give everyone access to essential items this product is limited to only one per customer.”

Tesco said the new guideline has been put in practice to mitigate the stockpiling that has been witnessed at some local stores, and has not been implemented company-wide.

However, the prospect that the measures would be rolled out nation-wide has not been confirmed.

Big 4 rival Sainsbury’s has a three-item cap on most products and a two-item limit on long-life milk, toilet rolls and soap, while Aldi currently has a four-item cap.

Tesco said the situation remains “fluid” and its ability to forecast current demand has proved a challenge.

The grocer was reliant on stores giving updates on the situation in local areas and it will be working on how best to ensure customers find essentials.

Separately, Tesco, along with Sainsbury’s and Iceland urged “healthy” people to continue travelling into stores to buy essentials in a bid to ease the online shopping process for the elderly and vulnerable amid the pandemic.

However, this call goes against the government’s command that people should stay home and shop as infrequently as possible.

The bosses of both Tesco and Sainsbury’s have already said they were looking at ways to prioritise vulnerable customers securing delivery slots.

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