Supermarket shortages are ‘permanent’ and will ‘get worse’ warns industry official – Glasgow Live

Customers should no longer expect to be able to pick up everything they want from supermarket shelves, according to an industry official.

The head of the Food and Drink Federation – a trade body representing the UK and drink manufacturing industry – has revealed that lorry driver shortages and roughly 500,000 people missing from the farm-to-fork supply chain is the reason.

As reported by the Liverpool ECHO, drivers are leaving supermarkets in favour of online retailers such as Amazon, where they can expect better pay and working hours.

In addition to this, many workers in the supply chain who were EU nationals have been forced to leave the country as a result of Brexit and Covid-19.

Chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation Ian Wright said: “It’s going to get worse, and it’s not going to get better after getting worse any time soon.

“The result of the labour shortages is that the just-in-time system that has sustained supermarkets, convenience stores and restaurants – so the food has arrived on shelf or in the kitchen, just when you need it – is no longer working.

“And I don’t think it will work again, I think we will see we are now in for permanent shortages.

“Now these shortages don’t mean that you’re going to run out of food.”

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Wright believes that suppliers will begin to prioritise products that give them higher profit margins.

He added: “That’s a first world problem. Nobody’s going to be completely bereft if they can’t get bottled water.

“But what is changing now is that the UK shopper and consumer could have previously have expected just about every product they want to be on a shelf or in the restaurant all the time.

“That’s over, and I don’t think it’s coming back.”

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