BBC News: Possible food shortages at Christmas

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It has been a difficult few months for the hospitality, food, and logistics industries as Britain continues to struggle with product shortages. McDonald’s is out of milkshakes, KFC has multiple missing menu items, and Nando’s has no chicken left. Now, it is possible the UK could be hit with a wine and Prosecco shortage ahead of Christmas.

The UK’s biggest wine company has warned the UK could soon face a wine and Prosecco shortage.

Food shortages are already prevalent in British supermarkets and even some pubs, including Wetherspoons, have run out of alcohol.

It is likely gaps will remain in supermarket shelves during the run-up to Christmas.

The problem stems from a shortage of HGV drivers in the country.

There is a shortage of lorry drivers in the UK because many have returned to their native countries.

In the aftermath of Brexit and the pandemic, many EU citizens working in the UK went back home.

According to the Road Haulage Association (RHA), Britain is currently short of around 100,000 lorry drivers, compared to a shortage of 60,000 in February 2020.

This has meant that many supermarkets, pubs, restaurants, retailers, and companies have missed out on deliveries in recent weeks.

As for drinks shortages, Robert Foye, Chief Executive of Accolade, has said there could be issues with wine and Prosecco supplies ahead of December 25.

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Accolade owns brands including Hardys, Echo Falls, and Banrock Station.

Mr Foye told the BBC: “These shortages, if they continue, could definitely impact Christmas.

“We are trying to get ahead of it, but it does depend on the situation for the entire transport and trucking industry in the UK.”

The chief executive also said products could be more expensive this Christmas.

He added: “Ultimately, costs will go up.”

Other companies have warned of increasing food costs too.

According to the latest industry data, food prices are set to go up due to rising supply costs.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that supermarket prices are likely to rise following months of increased commodity and shipping costs.

BRC’s Chief Executive, Helen Dickinson, said: “Food retailers are fighting to keep their prices down as far as possible.

“But mounting pressures – from rising commodity and shipping costs as well as Brexit-related red tape – mean this will not be sustainable for much longer, and food price rises are likely in the coming months.”

Ms Dickinson added that non-food categories, such as electricals, are also likely to see prices of their products rise.

Retailers will soon have no choice but to hike the prices of their stock.

This is due to global issues with delayed shipping and microchip shortages.

Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight at NielsenIQ hoped that retailers will be able to keep food prices low, despite problems within the supply chain.

He said: “With shoppers now returning from their summer holidays many will be reviewing their household budgets.

“So, the next few months will be an important time for retailers to keep prices stable by absorbing as much of any increase in their supply chain costs as possible.”

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