Buyers are urged not to stock as some supermarkets are already seeing empty shelves caused by ‘pingdemic’ in a bizarre repeat of the first weeks of the pandemic.

Thousands of workers are forced to self-isolate after being ‘pinched’ by the NHS Covid-19 app, as a shortage of truck drivers compounds the problem.

Scenes of empty shelves may sound alarming, but how likely is the UK to run out of food? We asked experts in the field for their advice.

Professor Michael Winter OBE, University of Exeter

Michael Winter, professor of land economics and society at the University of Exeter, said the UK could, in theory, run out of food – but that was unlikely.

“The simple answer is yes, of course that could be the case, because if enough people were not working due to the isolation and in addition if there was a disruption of some trade for similar reasons and that there was further disruption around the transportation system and the truck drivers so, yes we could deal with it, ”he said The independent.

“Personally, I don’t think that would happen, but theoretically, logically, it could.

“I’m pretty sure if we came to a situation where there were severe shortages that were drastically disruptive, at this point I’m sure the government would enlist in the military, emergency drivers and probably a sort of emergency rationing system. “

The rural policy scholar said he did not believe there would be a “crisis” because the problems at the start of the pandemic were “successfully addressed”.

“We have a good logistics system and the retailers are incredibly well established,” he said. “Personally, I don’t think there is anything to worry about, I think we need to be a little flexible in what we buy, but I’m not a panic purveyor on this.”

Andy Adcock, former director of food for M&S

Andy Adcock, former food director for Marks and Spencer, said there may be items that supermarkets and stores are running low on but the UK is increasingly producing its own food.

“I think we have arguably the best supply chain and the best supermarkets in the world here,” said the retail expert, who is now a senior advisor at Boston Consulting Group.

“I think the things that are going on behind the scenes with suppliers and retailers, that just wouldn’t happen.”

Mr Adcock said he believed many of the labor shortage issues were caused by workers in the NHS Covid app.

“Once that is gone, it will solve a lot of problems,” he said.

Professor Michael Bourlakis, Cranfield School of Management

“The food supply is pretty robust, it’s pretty resilient,” said Professor Michael Bourlakis, director of the Center for Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management at the Cranfield School of Management. The independent.

“What we have seen in recent years, especially with the Covid, the food chain has reacted quickly.

“We don’t have a few additional challenges, but I personally wouldn’t say it’s of great concern right now as supply chains are strong and flexible to be able to adapt.

“We might have shortages of some specific commodities, but I wouldn’t be pessimistic and say we won’t have food.”

Half empty shelves in a supermarket in London

(Andy Rain / EPA)

Nick Allen, Managing Director of the British Meat Processors Association

The chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said he would be “incredibly disappointed” if we ran out of food after the industry maintained the supply chain throughout the pandemic.

“I don’t subscribe to this ‘we’re going to run out of food’,” he said. The independent. “I can’t really imagine how we could end up running out of food in this situation. “

But he added: “That doesn’t minimize the fact how difficult it is getting right now.

“From our point of view, the worst that could happen is if you lose your main slaughterhouse workers, for example your slaughterers, as that would mean we couldn’t even remove the animals from the farm, because they get bigger then and that creates animal welfare. problems.”

Mr Allen said meat suppliers face two options in this scenario: focus on volume by simplifying products to meet demand, or manufacture the type of products that require superior skills and generate the most money. profits in fewer quantities.

BMPA members are currently looking for volume, he said, to keep store shelves stocked, which is why some products may be in short supply.

Tom Holder, British Retail Consortium

Tom Holder, British Retail Consortium press secretary, said there was still enough food for everyone, even in the excess storage in March 2020.

“The biggest risk is panic buying, excessive buying,” he said. “But people are generally considerate and I think they learned the lesson the last time that as soon as they shop normally things get back to normal very quickly.”

He said retail workers are good at …

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Source: www.independent.co.uk
This notice was published: 2021-07-23 02:04:02

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