Published On: 21/12/20212.7 min read
Christmas 2021- Is There a Shortage of Food in the UK

Supermarkets and wholesalers across the country are warning of UK food shortages this Christmas

Supermarkets and wholesalers across the country are warning of UK food shortages this Christmas, with consumers expected to grapple with UK food shortages, as the global supply squeeze takes hold in the run up to the busiest time of year.

During a two week period earlier this autumn, 1 in 6 adults were unable to purchase essential goods, according to a survey by the Office for National Statistics. Consequently, the crisis is now worsening as demands soar in the run up to Christmas 2021.

Why are There Food Shortages in the UK?

Various factors have contributed to the UK supply squeeze.

Global supply chains have seen high levels of demand, coupled with strained logistics and labour shortages. One of the key reasons is due to the effect of Covid-19, which has disrupted the intrinsic and complex global supply chain.

For the UK in particular, breaking away from the European Union and in turn, the Single Market, has put further pressure on the haulage industry, which prior to Covid-19 and Brexit, was already dealing with lower employment rates. A significant reduction in migrant workers able to pick, pack and deliver has further exacerbated the supply chain. Consequently, once all the mitigating factors are combined, it’s no surprise that there is significant disruption to global supply chains, ultimately resulting in UK food shortages.

What are the Food Shortages Right Now?

Popular Christmas related foods are top of the list when it comes to current food shortages in the UK. Food product shortages include items such as:

1. Turkey and Meat

Citing post-Brexit regulations along with visa changes for migrant workers as contributing factors, UK farmers have warned of a poultry shortage this Christmas. The British Poultry Council has estimated approximately 7,000 job vacancies across the industry.

Poultry isn’t the only meat struggling to make it to the supermarket shelves this winter, with pork also facing shortages as slaughter- ready pigs risk being killed and sent straight to landfill.

This is largely due to a lack of abattoir workers, who are able to turn around the production process in a timely manner.

Other bodies such as the British Meat Processors Association have also been warning of Christmas food shortages in the UK this year.

2. Chocolate and Milk

The lack of HGV drivers is having implications on the delivery of chocolates and other confectionery items to supermarkets and wholesalers across the nation. Nestle, who produce the likes of Quality Street and Aero, have openly said they’re facing severe supply chain disruption as a result of the HGV driver shortage.

In conjunction with this, the shortage of HGV drivers is also affecting milk supplies, with dairy giant Arla, saying they’ve been struggling since April. To avoid waste, the brand is sending smaller quantities of milk out, meaning that there aren’t sufficient product levels to meet consumer demands.

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