More than 70,000 shoppers have queued online and hundreds lined up outside UK stores to get their hands on Aldi’s toys and merchandise based around its Kevin the Carrot adverts.

By 10am, several versions of the soft toys had already sold out online amid high demand for merchandise linked to the hero of the discount grocery store’s festive campaign.

Among those sold out included a set featuring Kevin and his carrot girlfriend Katie and Christmas tree decorations of the football/food-themed characters Messy, Ronaldi and Marrowdona.

Aldi said its website had instigated a digital queueing system as demand for the soft toys was “extremely high”.

One shopper tweeted: “I queue up for new consoles and games, my wife queues up at 5.30am for Kevin The Carrot from Aldi.”

Another posted a picture of his haul after tweeting he was queueing outside a store at 07.15am.

One shopper complained that in Southampton none of the main characters were on sale.Lead [sic] to a very disappointed queue of people outside who had been waiting since before the store opened! Staff did not seem to care at all. All of the football players hut [sic] none of the main family! Not acceptable,” they tweeted.

The dash for fruit- and vegetable-based soft toys has become an annual showdown at Aldi since it launched its Kevin the Carrot Christmas advert series in 2016. Fights have even broken out over the merchandise in previous years.

This year’s ad features Kevin the Carrot stuck in the house, Home Alone style, after missing his family’s Christmas getaway.

Aldi’s success with soft toys comes as retailers react to demand for merchandise featuring everyday brands – from Lidl Christmas jumpers and trainers to Greggs cycling shorts and Ikea bucket hats.

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