10th September, 2021
An industry official has warned the days consumers could pick up everything they want from supermarket shelves are over.
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation has said a shortage in lorry drivers and around half a million people missing in the farm to fork supply chain is to blame.
Many of the lorry drivers are moving to online retailers like Amazon or Tesco due to the better hours and more pay.
Also, a lot of workers are EU nationals who have been forced to leave the UK due to the pandemic and Brexit.
He 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."
Last week most of the east of England ran out of bottled water and suppliers will make decisions to prioritise products which give them higher margins believes the chief executive.
Mr Wright said: "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."