There have been a few noticeable gaps on supermarket shelves already during 2021, after a number of supply chain problems. UK food shortages are now inevitable over the summer and beyond, as food production and supply problems get worse.
What Are The Causes Of UK Food Shortages
Food Production and Supply Problems
One of the biggest issues facing the UK food production is a shortage of workers in harvesting, manufacturing and packing. Workers from EU countries have filled many of these lower paid and sometimes temporary jobs in the past. After Brexit, many of the people who would have filled these vacancies are no longer working in the UK.
It is not only the production of food that faces staff shortages; the haulage industry is facing similar problems. There is a large shortage of drivers within the UK transport industry. This has a huge impact on the transport of food from producers to supermarkets. It is very likely that transport costs will increase, with those costs being passed on to the consumer. Some deliveries will simply not be able to be made due to the lack of drivers.
Reduced Food Imports From Europe
Back in December, we looked at the potential effects of Brexit on the supply of food from Europe. Some of those effects are now starting to be seen. Brexit has not only had an impact on staffing of the food industry in the UK, but also on the supply of food from the EU. Border checks and increased amounts of red tape have made the import of food from EU countries to the UK more expensive. Some European suppliers have reduced the amount of food that they sell to the UK.
Steel Supply Chain Problems Making UK Food Shortages Worse
Europe and the USA are currently suffering from a supply of steel that is failing to meet the demand. This may seem to be unrelated to UK food shortages, but actually it will have a direct impact. Steel is used to make the cans for canned food, and a shortage of steel will mean that manufacturers are unable to make the cans for food. For example, the producers of canned tomatoes in Italy are predicting having to let crops rot in the fields unless a supply of steel for cans is found very soon.
No Reduction In Demand For Food Over Summer
The school summer holiday period in the UK would normally mean many people travelling abroad. This has usually led to a reduction in demand for food in the UK over summer. This year, the Covid-19 pandemic will mean that far fewer people are travelling abroad. The large number of people staying in the UK over the holiday period will mean that there is no drop in demand for food. This will compound the effects of the UK food shortage, with more people relying on an already over-stretched food supply chain.
What Can I Do To Cope With UK Food Shortages?
It is likely that food shortages will last over summer, and in to winter. A well stocked store cupboard will help deal with food shortages. In addition to using supplies that you already have, look at buying long lasting food that is not currently suffering from shortages. For example, rice and pasta are in plentiful supply in the shops. The supply of tinned food is still good, although likely to become harder to find soon. There is still time to plant vegetables in your garden to provide you with a supply through Autumn. You could also look at preservation techniques to preserve fresh food, either bought or home grown, to last over the next year.