SHOPPERS will have less choice at supermarkets as supply shortages leave shelves bare, experts have warned.
Supermarkets are preparing for months of shortages – from crisps and meat to toilet paper and flour.
There is a shortage of HGV drivers in the UK and a spike in demand for shipping containers worldwide as the global economy restarts after the pandemic.
It will likely be most fiercely felt on inexpensive but bulky goods such as toilet paper, pre-packed bread and chilled goods.
One senior food industry source said: “Whether it’s attracting people to work in factories, fields, food processing plants or to drive lorries – it feels like the whole food and supermarket industry is grinding to a halt.
“We’re already anticipating there’ll be two or three types of beef joint instead of six or seven, or a much smaller range of tomatoes.
“The aim will be to get products on to shelves but not anything like a full range of pack sizes and options – so don’t expect to match your toilet paper colour to your downstairs toilet wallpaper.”
The ‘systemic’ problem has already seen a shortage of CO2, affecting the production of products like crisps and fizzy drinks.
The government has urged people not to panic buy, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps saying people should “carry on as normal”.
Despite the reassurances, queues have been spotted at petrol stations across the country creating long tailbacks in some places.
EG Group, which runs around 400 fuel stops, has imposed a limit of £30 per fill up to ensure customers “have a fair chance to refuel”.
All the petrol stations with the brand names BP, Esso, Shell and Texaco now have a £30 fuel limit in place.
But there will be other garages with the same branding that are not imposing the limit because they are run by different companies.