The six festive foods and seasonal staples that might be hard to get hold of this Christmas
A nationwide shortage of some seasonal staples could mean Christmas is a little different this year.
Turkeys, Christmas trees and potatoes are all in limited stock, experts warn, due to covid delays, CO2 shortages, Brexit and flooding in mainland Europe.
It comes as fuel supply problems continue to plague the UK, with panic buying and a shortage of truck drivers causing long lines and closures at petrol stations.
Here’s how shortages can affect your Christmas shopping list …
The carbon dioxide shortage could lead to “massive” supplies of meat, the industry has warned.
This is because the gas is used in the vacuum packaging and to stun animals before slaughter.
Turkish supplier Bernard Matthews has warned that “Christmas will be canceled” unless the government alleviates the gas shortage.
Speaking last month, Ranjit Singh Boparan, owner of Bernard Matthews and 2 Sisters Food Group, said: “The supply of Bernard Matthews turkeys this Christmas was already in jeopardy as I need to find an additional 1,000 workers to process the supplies. . From now on, without a CO2 supply, Christmas will be canceled.
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“The CO2 problem is a huge blow to the body and puts us at breaking point, it really is – it’s poultry, beef, pork, as well as the food industry at large.
“Without CO2, the bottom line is that there is less throughput and with our industry already compromised by the lack of manpower, this potentially tilts us over.”
There is a nationwide CO2 shortage due to the closure of two fertilizer plants due to rising natural gas prices.
Last week, a turkey farmer said the UK could face a ‘national shortage’ of turkeys heading into Christmas due to a lack of manpower after Brexit.
Kate Martin, president of the Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association (TFTA), said while small UK farms that use local workers have been less affected, supermarket shelves are likely to be affected by a shortage of European workers qualified.
Ms Martin told the PA News Agency: “This year it seems like there is a national shortage of turkeys when we talk about the supermarket shelves, rather than buying direct from your farm.
“It’s the supermarket shelves that will be more empty of turkeys this year than they were before, just because there have been fewer turkeys on the floor, only because the big processors know they are. will not transform them. “
Devastating flooding in mainland Europe during the summer could lead to a potato shortage this winter, some experts have warned.
Crop damage in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands could increase demand from UK growers.
Concerns were also expressed about a shortage of workers during the potato harvest.
Frozen French fries are likely to be affected first, although it is said that roasted potatoes could be scarce on the Christmas dinner table.
Rachel Dobson, managing director of hotel buying company Lynx Purchasing, told The Sun: “This means UK pubs and restaurants serving popular dishes like fish and chips might find their usual supplier is not. able to deliver.
“The overseas shortage is likely to have a knock-on effect on the availability of UK-grown potatoes.
“At Christmas, we might find that the roasted potato, a staple of festive dinners, is also scarce. “
About one in 10 Christmas trees sold in the UK is imported.
But post-Brexit red tape and a tight labor market could lead to shortages and increased demand for locally grown trees, retailers said.
Mark Rofe, owner of ChristmasTrees.co.uk, said: “We have spoken to our UK growers and they all face the same challenges.
“They see an increase in demand for their product, especially from customers who typically import their trees from Europe, but want to avoid any bureaucracy that could increase costs or cause delays for what is of course a period. very seasonal and temporal. sensitive business. “
And Mr Rofe also warned that buyers would face price hikes this year.
He added: “It will be more difficult to get your hands on a real Christmas tree this holiday season. However, if you can get one you can expect to pay more than in previous years. increased between 5% and 10% this year alone.
“With Christmas trees taking an average of 10 years to grow, it’s not just a matter of cutting down more trees, especially when you don’t have the manpower to harvest them or the transport to transport them to. across the country. “
Soft drink makers warn they may have to stop producing soft drinks due to carbon dioxide shortages.
Speaking last week, the British Soft Drinks Association, which represents producers of soft drinks in the UK, said some manufacturers had “only a few days of CO2 supply” left and there was uncertainty about their next deliveries.
The BSDA says: “If manufacturers of soft drinks cannot source CO2 after their reserves are exhausted, production of some products will have to cease.
Members of BDSA include Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Fentimens, Britvic and Irn Bru’s owners, Barr.
CO2 is added to drinks to carbonate them, making the water sparkling and sparkling sparkling.
Pigs in blankets
The government said on Friday it “continues to work closely” with the pork industry amid a reported shortage of butchers that could impact the Christmas food supply.
Ministers plan to ease visa restrictions for up to 1,000 foreign butchers, according to the Times.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs told the PA news agency he was aware of the labor shortages.
He said: “We understand the importance of seasonal work and are aware of the challenges the pork industry has faced in recent months due to the Covid-19 pandemic and labor shortages, and Defra has worked closely with the pork and processing sectors during this time. “.
Rob Mutimer, president of the National Pig Association, said: “The only end goal is that we farmers are going to end up slaughtering our cattle – not for the food chain but to turn them into rendering, to dispose of carcasses like this. that happened. in foot-and-mouth disease. And it’s a terrible situation. “
Hopefully we’ll have a Christmas to do this year.
But you might want to think about planning your outfit now.
Next has warned it may struggle to provide its normal service as Christmas approaches, unless the government relaxes post-Brexit immigration rules to allow more workers to enter the country .
The company, one of Britain’s largest clothing retailers, said on Wednesday its clothing and housewares stores and online store could be affected as Christmas approaches.
“We anticipate that without some relaxation of immigration rules, we may experience some degradation in our service as Christmas approaches,” Next said in its half-year earnings release.
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