Brace yourself for double bad news – vegetables many of us love to chop up and put in our dinner are in short supply and getting more expensive.

Supermarket shelves have reportedly been running particularly low on courgettes but lettuces, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, aubergines and tomatoes are also affected.

It’s due to the cold snap on the continent which has hit supplies, especially from Spain and Italy.

Tesco described its courgette shortage as "short term", saying: "Due to bad weather conditions in Spain, we are experiencing a few availability issues, but are working with our suppliers to resolve them as quickly as possible."

Jordi Vorderman, UK sales manager at Dutch vegetable supplier Valstar Holland, said courgette prices had quadrupled since the summer from between £4 and £6 to above £20 for a 5kg box.

He said: "Supplies are low because of cold nights in Spain and Italy. The cold affects courgettes a lot.

"There is less production but demand is at the same level so it has driven prices up enormously."

He said some UK supermarkets were not prepared to buy courgettes at such high prices and would rather leave their shelves empty.

Mr Vorderman said the issue was not confined to courgettes, and was also affecting other popular produce.

He added: "The cost of everything imported from Spain and Italy is sky high at the moment."

The courgette situation comes three months after Tesco was low on popular brands such as Marmite after a post-Brexit pricing row with supplier Unilever.