Supermarket food shortages could ‘cancel Christmas’ warns Iceland boss

THE boss of Iceland has warned that shortages could hit Christmas food supplies.

Richard Walker, the supermarkets chief executive, has said that a shortage of lorry drivers is threatening supplies.

Empty shelves have become a familiar sight in shops[/caption]

Gaps on supermarket shelves have been spotted across the country due to a combination of factors, including lorry driver shortages and Covid.

Supplier issues have also led to shortages at fast food chains like McDonald’s, Nandos and KFC, with some items off menus and branches closed.

McDonald’s yesterday warned that there was a nation-wide shortage of milkshakes at its more than 1,000 restaurants.

The Sun first revealed last week that Nandos was forced to close nearly 50 branches after running out of chicken.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme Mr Walker 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,” he added.

“We’ve got a lot of goods to transport between now and Christmas and a strong supply chain is vital for everyone.”

He said the shortage of drivers is impacting the supermarket daily and creating shortages on shelves.

The boss of the Co-op has also warned that food shortages are the worst he has ever seen.

Steve Murrells, the Co-op’s chief executive told The Times that the shortages are the worst he’s ever seen and that supermarkets are reducing their ranges because of the issues.

He said: “Rather than bare shelves, we’re seeing supermarkets rationalising their lines so they can process more. Rather than three different qualities of strawberry, there is just one grade.”

Bottled water and fresh fruit and veg are among the products that have been missing from shelves.

A number of problems through the food supply chain have combined to create what’s been described as a “perfect storm”.

Mr Murells told The Times the crisis was “the merging of Brexit and issues
caused by Covid”.

A shortage of lorry drivers and fruit and veg pickers has threatened supplies, while staff shortages have been created at factories after they were “pinged” by the NHS Covid app.

Last month Iceland boss Richard Walker urged shoppers not to panic buy.

Iceland was forced to close some of its stores due to a lack of staff and BP had to close several petrol stations.

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