Christmas 2021: All the things that might be in short supply this year – Essex Live

It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is fast approaching.

In only 76 days, or 11 weeks, the big day will be upon us again, and we’re all hoping this year will feel a bit more festive than last year.

Covid restrictions at Christmas 2020 saw many families unable to meet up, with planned Christmas dinners going to waste after lockdowns were enforced across the country.

Read more: What’s on in Essex

So this Christmas has a lot riding on it – all we want is a bit of normality.

But, as reported by WalesOnline, there may be a different problem this year.

There may be a shortage of some essential Christmas items, supermarkets are warning, as the country still struggles to find enough drivers to get the goods around.

Whether it’s Brexit, or Covid isolation periods and reduced levels of staff, there’s the possibility you may not have all of the Christmas trimmings on your table this year.

Tesco chairman John Allan said: “Normally the supermarket industry would start building stocks from now in readiness for Christmas.

“Longer-life products first, things like Christmas puddings and so on, shorter-life products, like fresh turkeys, very late in the day.

“At the moment we’re running very hard just to keep on top of the existing demand and there isn’t the capacity to build stocks that we’d like to see.”

So what could we be short of come December 25?

Turkeys

Traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings
Traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings
(Image: Valueline/Getty Images)

Poultry farmers may only be able to produce 80 per cent of their usual output this year, due to a shortage of workers.

Richard Griffiths, chief executive at British Poultry Council, said: “It would be irresponsible to grow more birds than can be slaughtered and processed, which is incredibly frustrating when the demand is there for quality British products.”

Pigs in Blankets

The ultimate Christmas food (and no, I’m not debating this).

But these delectable, meaty treats may not reach our tables this year.

A spokeswoman for British Meat Processors Association said it’s a possibility.

“Given the current workforce shortages, meat companies are finding it difficult to see how they’ll dig themselves out of this,” she said.

“Part of the issue is that it’s more difficult to time the supply of pigs in the same way that you can for Christmas turkeys, so production of Christmas favourites like pigs in blankets has to be done well in advance, and normally should have started at the beginning of July.

“The problem will continue to spiral until something changes. That ‘something’ must be an injection of new workers.”

Petrol

We’ve already been feeling the anxiety of not knowing when or where we’ll be able to fill up, after the chaos at the pumps during the last few weeks.

And Christmas-time is a time when many people are relying on fuel more than ever for cross-country drives to see loved ones over the holiday period.

But there is no guarantee the fuel supply will be back to normal by Christmas.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse told the BBC last week: “We are still seeing strong demand in parts of the country around fuel, albeit that there is no problem of supply into the country.

“The distribution mechanism is trying to respond to this unprecedented demand.”

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Gifts

A pile of neatly wrapped Christmas presents beneath a Christmas tree
A pile of neatly wrapped Christmas presents beneath a Christmas tree
(Image: PA)

Retailers are being hit by a lack of drivers too – so Santa’s stockings may be looking a little empty this year.

Experts in the toy industry fear that consumers will face higher prices this Christmas as a result of economic pressures that have disrupted their plans.

Bins

Rubbish collection could also be one of the services affected by driver shortages.

Across Essex, there have been delays to bin collections for a month now – and during the heightened demand over the Christmas period, we’ll be needing the bin space even more.

Experts in the toy industry fear that consumers will face higher prices this Christmas as a result of economic pressures that have disrupted their plans.

Fruit and veg

Brussels sprouts are a very controversial vegetable
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

I don’t know about you, but Christmas is one of the only times we can be persuaded to eat green vegetables (and they’re actually not too bad).

But there are fears that labour shortages in the fruit and veg markets could mean less green stuff on your plate this year.

Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers Association, said: “If you cannot get the labour, you end up going through the crops and you might just pick out the class one and leave some of the other produce that could have been picked from those fields.

“I think the longer term issue is it just continuously erodes the confidence of growers.”

Christmas trees

Sorry, what?

Christmas without Christmas trees?

Let’s just cancel it now and try again next year.

One farmer explained this week why even the most important festive item of all might be harder to come by this year.

“With Brexit, the paperwork involved with importing the produce to grow has increased significantly,” said Rob Morgan from Gower, Wales.

“There’s also a huge lack of drivers and general transportation, as most us will be aware by now, as well as lengthy shipping delays, which is really driving up demand for local producers and farmers.

“Many wholesalers are too afraid to buy from abroad these days, because of the delays and the paperwork and so on. It’s great for local farmers like me to have that extra support, but there simply aren’t enough trees at the moment to meet this sudden increase. A Christmas tree takes around 12 years to grow, so we can’t just produce more overnight.”

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