Food shortages this Christmas – How UK fares vs Europe

Food shortages: UK to 'compromise' on branded goods says expert

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As we build up to Christmas many people will be stocking up on food to get them through the festive season. Turkeys, pigs in blankets and fizz are some of the in demand items that shoppers will be hunting for. But how are stock levels of these shaping up, given the supply chain issues that have been created by the ongoing Covid pandemic and Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) driver shortages?

In recent months, UK shoppers have become accustomed to half-full shelves and unavailable items in supermarkets.

The situation has been sparked by a combination of factors, including the Covid pandemic and the various fallouts from Brexit.

Now, with celebrations for Christmas and New Year’s Eve fast approaching, the subject has again come under the spotlight. have taken a look at some of the key items that could be affected by food shortages in the build-up to Christmas and how this compares with Europe.


The poultry industry sparked concern in August, when it issued a warning that there may be a deficit of turkeys for Christmas 2021, due to Brexit.

At the time, one million fewer birds were being produced by producers due to staff shortages in processing plants.

However, since then the Government has allowed thousands of seasonal poultry workers to enter the UK.

As a result, analysts believe there will be enough turkeys to go around for everyone this Christmas.

Consumers looking to buy a British bird this year can expect to pay between five to 10 percent more, due to farmers’ rising costs.

Pigs in blankets

Once again a lack of workers in abattoirs – due to Brexit – threatened to leave a shortfall in this year’s supply of pigs in blankets.

The situation was alleviated somewhat by the Government’s decision to allow butchers in on temporary visas.

Regardless, experts say firms have still been playing catch-up to meet consumer demand.

As roughly 80 percent of bacon and 60 percent of pork is imported into the UK, it’s thought retailers will search abroad for additional stock rather than risk upsetting shoppers.

Another solution to this potential issue, for consumers, is also to create your own by purchasing supplies of bacon and chipolatas.

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The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) warned last month that the UK could face a shortage of alcohol this Christmas unless the Government steps up its efforts to tackle the HGV driver shortage.

Members of the WSTA have reported that importing goods was taking up to five times longer than it did a year ago.

While shortages of champagne and some popular wine brands – such as New Zealand sauvignon blanc – have surfaced, you should still be able to buy alcohol for your Christmas lunch. However, the only issue is that it might not be the brand you want.

How does this compare with Europe?

European nations have equally experienced supply chain issues brought on by the Covid pandemic.

Nonetheless, any food shortages that do appear on the continent are not expected to be major this Christmas.

Last week EU farming ministers approved conclusions on a plan to protect the EU’s food supply system against future threats.

The plan is hoped to future-proof Europe’s food system against potential risks after various vulnerabilities of it were exposed by the Covid pandemic.

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