You may have noticed a conspicuous absence in the herb section of the supermarket recently.

Whether it’s Tesco, Sainsbury’s, or Asda, one vital ingredient for a range of dishes has gone missing – cumin.

The herb, vital for curries, Mexican dishes, and some traditional breads, has been selling out rapidly across Andover, with the supermarkets’ own brand bottles flying off the shelves soon after a new delivery had been made, causing some residents to miss out.

Reporters were unable to find any own-brand cumin at Tesco Extra, Asda, and both Sainsbury’s branches, with a member of staff at the latter saying that it was “on hold” until further notice.

At Tesco’s and Asda’s, meanwhile, the next batch of cumin is expected to arrive on the September 15, though a member of staff at Asda said this would make it available “on the 16th.”

Speaking to Food Manufacture, one expert in food supply chains said that restaurants and catering businesses have been buying more of essential ingredients, like cumin, as they streamline their menus to focus on best sellers.

This could then reduce the supplies of cumin available to consumers.

However, there is hope for anyone struggling to find the herb. There are limited supplies of more expensive brands, such as Schwartz, at some of the stores, but these retail for double the price of the regular bottles.

As a result, it may pay to visit one of Andover’s discount supermarkets, Lidl and Aldi, which still have plenty of cumin available, and for cheaper than the other supermarkets.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said: “Some of our stores in the Andover area are running low of our by Sainsbury’s ground cumin. We will have more in stock very soon and in the meantime customers can still find our Nacto Ground Cumin. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Tesco and Asda were contacted for comment.