A YouGov poll found 45 percent of Brits had noticed food shortages during August. While supermarket giants attempt to get more HGV lorry drivers on side to combat supply chain issues, customers are noticing gaps on the shelves. What items are flying off the shelves?
Customers have been confronted with empty shelves and sparse stock at supermarkets across the UK.
Issues with the supply chain as well as staff shortages have led to food shortages across UK supermarkets.
British restaurants including Nando’s, Greggs and McDonald’s, have also apologised to disappointed customers for a lack of some menu items in recent weeks.
Why is the UK facing food shortages?
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, warned that he believes shortages could be ‘permanent’, a claim the Government has rebutted.
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Mr Wright pointed to staff shortages at every level of the supply chain – as a result of EU nationals leaving the UK due to both Covid and Brexit – as the cause behind food shortages.
On Friday, the UK Government announced that 50,000 more HGV driving tests would be made available in order to encourage more people into lorry driving.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The shortage of drivers is a global problem, but we’ve been taking action here in the UK to help industry leaders attract drivers and build a more resilient sector.
“We’ve already delivered 50 percent more tests than were available before the pandemic, but today’s additional measures will deliver up to 50,000 more a year, helping more and more people to kickstart their career as a well-paid HGV driver.”
In August, Waitrose were offering salaries of up to £53,780 for lorry drivers, with Tesco and Iceland also enticing potential drivers by increasing salaries by 25 percent.
What is on the list of food shortages?
Some UK dairy farms were left to throw away milk due to the lack of lorry drivers, the Independent has reported.
Milk & More, which delivers dairy products to homes across the UK, stopped deliveries for some customers.
In a statement on their website, Milk & More says: “Unfortunately, over the last few weeks, some of our fulfilment centres have been impacted by the current industry-wide driver shortage.
“Regrettably, a few of our centres are severely affected by low staff levels which is resulting in some of our customers being let down.”
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Last month, Nando’s had to shut 50 restaurants due to supply issues.
However, on August 21, 2021, the restaurant chain tweeted that chicken was back on the menu in all their restaurants.
However, supermarket shoppers have noticed a shortage of chicken in their local shops, as well as their favourite restaurants.
Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, attributed the shortage to workforce shortages.
Stoking fears around what will be on the table come Christmas, poultry chains have warned that if these issues continue, turkey supply will be in trouble.
Speaking to ITV News, Mark Gorton, managing director of Traditional Norfolk Poultry, said: “We simply cannot find people to run our farms and run our factory.”
Pigs in blankets and gammon
Industry insiders have warned that the issues the UK supply chain is facing now could have a knock-on effect on some of our most-loved Christmas foods.
The National Pig Association (NPA) has warned that there could be shortages.
Zoe Davies, chief executive of the NPA, told The Sun: “There is a huge concern about pigs in blankets and gammon availability for Christmas.
“This is the time the processors would normally be laying down stock for the festive season and storing it.’