In February 1917, the German Navy sank 230 ships bringing food and other supplies to Britain.
The following month a record 507,001 tons of shipping was lost as a result of the U-boat campaign. However, Britain was successful at increasing food production and the wheat harvest of 1917 was the best in our history.
At the end of 1917 people began to fear that the country was running out of food. Panic buying led to shortages and so in January 1918, the Ministry of Food decided to introduce rationing.
Sugar was the first to be rationed and this was later followed by butchers' meat. The idea of rationing food was to guarantee supplies, not to reduce consumption. This was successful and official figures show that the intake of calories almost kept up to the pre-war level.
Rationing ended in 1920 with butter the last item to be involved.