Iceland boss fears Brexit supply chain chaos will void Christmas Business News

The boss of the Iceland supermarket chain has warned that the supply chain crisis linked to Brexit could “cancel” Christmas.

Talk to Radio 4’s Today program, Iceland Managing Director Richard Walker said: ‘The reason we’re sounding the alarm now is that we’ve already had a Christmas canceled at the last minute and I would hate that to be problematic as well. . “

He revealed that the retail giant suffers daily food and drink shortages due to a chronic shortage of truck drivers. Iceland is currently short of 100 full-time drivers and Mr Walker warned that this “has an impact on the food supply chain on a daily basis”.

He added: “We have had deliveries canceled for the first time since the start of the pandemic, around 30 to 40 deliveries per day. Things like bread, fast lines, are canceled in about 100 stores a day.

“Soft drinks are 50% less by volume, so they have an effect on shelves. “

His comments follow similar warnings from Co-op supermarket boss Steve Murrells, who said “the shortages are at the worst level than at any time I’ve seen.”

Mr Walker revealed stores were selling bread and “struggling to restock as quickly as we needed”. He warned that the lingering issues would start to affect the Christmas season, saying, “Of course we have Christmas around the corner in retail. We’re really starting to build stocks from September for an extremely important time of the year.

“We have a lot of cargo to move between now and Christmas and a strong supply chain is vital for everyone.

Speaking on whether the chaos was caused by Brexit, he said: “Yes, I think so. But it’s a self-inflicted injury. I wouldn’t say it’s an inevitable consequence of Brexit.

He clarified: “This is due to the government’s failure to appreciate the importance of heavy truck drivers and the work they do for us.”

He called on ministers to add heavy truck drivers to the list of essential and skilled workers. “These heavy truck drivers kept the show on the road for 18 months during the pandemic and it is criminal that we do not consider them skilled workers,” he said.

Supply chain chaos is forcing retail giants to reduce product offerings in their stores, with The independent revealing yesterday that McDonalds was running out of milkshakes and bottled drinks.

Grocers will also have less choice in supermarket aisles, as the cooperative group’s general manager said the food shortages were the worst he has seen.

Steve Murrells said The temperature that the company had to cut some food product lines because of “Brexit and the problems caused by Covid”.

Tom Southall, Policy Officer at the Cold Chain Federation, saidThe independent:“Large food chains must prioritize certain products over others. They prioritize what makes the most money or maybe what has been popular.

“I think we’re going to see this for a while – certainly around Christmas time. There is a lot of planning for Christmas and that is what is happening now.

“We have heard that there are difficulties in processing turkeys, for example.

Mr Southall warned that shoppers might have to accept a smaller selection of fresh produce as the festivities approach, saying: “Fruits and vegetables, things that we are used to having fresh and have a few days before Christmas, might not be available in the quantities we are used to, especially products that cannot be frozen, things like Brussels sprouts and other vegetables for example.

Christmas dinner favorite, Pigs in Blankets, could also be taken off the menu later this year. The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said yesterday that production of the beloved treat could be cut by a third.

BMPA Managing Director Nick Allen said: “Some hog processors are having to reduce the number of hogs they process per week, which is starting to impact the farm.

“We’re shrinking and prioritizing rows and eliminating things, so there just won’t be the Christmas favorites total like we’re used to.”

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This notice was published: 2021-08-25 09:00:04

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