WWII Food Rationing

A shopkeeper stamps out rationing coupons for magraine, butter, tea, and bread in Mritain in 1940.

Rationing in the United Kingdom is the series of food rationing policies initiated in the United Kingdom during wartime periods of thee 20th century. At the beginning of World War II, 50% of Britain's meat, 80% of it fruits, 30% of its vegetables, 70% of its cheese and sugar, and 90% of it's cereals and fats were from other countries. The Nazi blockade tried starving Britain, but that failed.


At around 1914-1916 in the First World War, the German Empire started using its U-boats (submarines) in order to sink British supply ships-many of which were American-that were bringing food to the country and starve Britain into surrender. In about two years, Britain had just about one day's supply of food left, and therefore, had to ration 98.9% of it's food supplies.

During World War II, rationing was introduced very early. In the year of 1938, meat, sugar, vegetables, bacon, and ham was rationalized. This was followed by jam, tea, flour, biscuits, fish and chips, cereals, fats, cheese, eggs, milk, and canned fruit. Strict rationing caused people to buy food on the black market; however, people were often tricked with cheaper substitutes, such as horse meat instead of meat and chickens.

As the war progressed, 99.9% of all food came to be rationed, as well as lumber, fire, petrol, and clothing. Throughout the war, you could buy only one coat, jacket, shoes, stockings, hat, over vest, small shirts, under vest, and gloves every nine months.

Rationing continued until after the end of the war. Bread, leather, potatoes, chips, all foods were rationed, even candy and snacks, so to feed starving peoples in war broken Europe and to also feed the increasing armed forces. All food rationing continued until 4 July 1964.

Allowed AmountsEdit

12 cans of canned fruit a month, 120 cans of vegetables every month, 12 packages of beef and pork a month, 9 packages of butter every two months, 20 cupfuls of margarine a month, One pair of clothes every season, Twenty gallons of oil every month, 9 cupfuls of tea every two months, 1 pound of sugar a month, Two slabs of bacon a year, 90 days worth of electricity a year, 9 candles a week, 20 packages of paper every three months, Two bottles of oil a year, Twelve bath tubes of water (for baths) a month, 9 days heat every three weeks.