With the lorry driver shortage worsening, and retailers failing to build up their supplies for Christmas, Brits fear that the festive season will be cancelled all over again.
Last year, locked down Brits were told at the last minute that they would only be able to spend one day with loved ones living elsewhere, sending festive plans into chaos.
Amid supply shortages across the country, the hopes for happy holidays could be in for another shock as retail giants warn that shortages could continue throughout the year.
Britain now has a 100,000 shortfall of HGV drivers. About 14,000 European drivers left during the pandemic and are yet to return, and panic is beginning to set in for supermarket giants as it takes up to 18 months to train a lorry driver.
Supermarket bosses warn of severe shortages
Chief Executive for Iceland, Richard Walker, has said that a lack of lorry drivers is causing major issues for their deliveries.
Speaking on the BBC’s Today Programme he said: “The reason for sounding the alarm now is that we’ve already had one Christmas cancelled at the last minute. I’d hate this one to be problematic as well.
“We start to stock-build from September onwards for what is a hugely important time of year. We’ve got a lot of goods to transport between now and Christmas and a strong supply chain is vital for everyone.”
Meanwhile, the boss of Co-Op has said that grocery shortages are reaching “chronic” levels and are still worsening.
Fears were shared by Tesco chairman, John Allan who also fears festive shortages.
He 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.”
John Lewis has taken matters into their own hands by increasing drivers’ pay by up to £5,000 a year and is offering recruits “golden hellos” of £1,000.
No turkeys this Christmas
As reported by The Times, the number of turkeys around Paul Kelly’s farm in the run-up to Christmas has grown every year for more than a quarter of a century. But this year a shortage of workers has forced the Essex based farmer to cap the population at 60,000.
Kelly, 58, needs another 22 seasonal workers to manage the workload in order to satisfy the demand for turkeys this Christmas. After months of desperately trying to recruit, and merely three applications he has given up.
Poultry farmers across the country are facing the same issue, and will therefore produce 20% fewer turkeys this Christmas.
Shortages cause chaos for fast food giants McDonald’s and Nandos
Supplier issues have led to shortages at fast-food chains like McDonald’s, Nandos and KFC, with items missing from menus and branches being forced to close.
McDonald’s have been hit by a drinks shortage, with many beverages and the signature milkshakes currently unavailable at over 1,000 restaurants.
Elsewhere, Nandos was recently forced to close the doors of 50 restaurants due to chicken supplies running out.
Greggs is the latest company to be hit with supply shortages, as well as Costa Coffee who have reduced their menu due to the supply chain chaos.