The UK food and drink industry is looking into “the scale, nature and urgency” of labor shortages in the haulage sector in the hope of persuading the government to intervene further in the crisis. An ongoing HGV driver shortage is crippling the food and drink supply chain, while shortages also affect warehouse staff and fresh produce pickers.
Consultancy firm Grant Thornton has been commissioned by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and twelve major trade bodies – including the Food & Drink Federation, British Frozen Food Federation and Cold Chain Federation – to compile a report on the impact of the crisis. This will be presented to government next week.
Retailers have seen deliveries cut, including Morrisons, Iceland, Waitrose and Ocado, as well as smaller retailers like Booths and Spar. An increase in unaccompanied freight arriving at ports has led to fruit and vegetables being left to rot because drivers are reluctant to travel to the pick-up with an empty lorry as this reduces profitability.
According to export.org.uk, horticultural suppliers are also suffering as hauliers have largely abandoned flower and plants deliveries in order to prioritise food.