Could there be a Christmas food shortage this year in Doncaster?

There is a distinct possibility that Doncaster, along with the whole of Britain, could face a food shortage around the Christmas period this year.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 2:03 pm

Christmas (or at least Christmas dinner) may be cancelled this year, as Britain faces a possible food shortage over the winter season.

There’s a number of reasons contributing to this. The recent Suez Canal blockade did little to help things, causing a huge trading backlog, but it’s far from the only reason.

As you may have guessed, one of the biggest contributors to Britain’s food supply plight is COVID-19.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

File photo dated 22/07/21 of empty shelves in the sausage and burger section of the freezer aisle at the Sainsbury supermarket. Photo credit: Tom Wilkinson/PA Wire

COVID-19

The pandemic that has shaken the world has also provided many problems to the international food industry. Exporting and importing food has been made much more difficult, with more hoops to jump through to ensure the virus isn’t being transported from country to country.

The main issue brought about by COVID-19 is the amount of staff shortages. For example, processing pork and other meats that come from pigs has been cut by roughly a third since the beginning of 2020.

This could mean a lack of pigs in blankets on the table at Christmas if the problem persists.

Furthermore, many lorry drivers have been rendered unable to work, due to the aftermath of the “pingdemic”. There is an estimated shortage of around 100,000 lorry drivers across the UK, making the movement of goods much harder than it would normally be. However, COVID-19 isn’t the only reason for this – there’s also the matter of Brexit.

Brexit

Many EU nationals working as lorry drivers in the UK have left the country following Brexit, choosing to work elsewhere instead. In addition, simply arriving in the UK with goods has been made more difficult due to tighter border regulations.

Some companies pay their drivers by the mile, not the hour, therefore meaning that delays with border control ultimately ends up costing the drivers more money than necessary.

Not only that, but due to the British pound’s falling value, working in the UK is just less appetising for EU Nationals now – there’s better options available to them. Lorry drivers are not the only workers in short supply due to Brexit, as poultry production has also taken a hit. As such, getting a turkey at Christmas could be more difficult than usual.

As a side note, it should be remembered that Britain no longer has unfettered access to the EU’s trading bloc – the largest in the world. We can still trade with them as a country, but these trades now come with higher tariffs.

Other reasons and causes

Of course, there’s more to the issue than just COVID-19 and Brexit. The UK faces a shortage of roughly 500,000 workers in the food industry, but experts believe that a key reason for this is a lack of young people wanting to enter the sector.

This could cause the food shortage in Britain to last for an indefinite period of time – not just over Christmas.

However, government spokespeople have stated that they believe this year’s Christmas should go ahead as normal. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that the lack of food in Britain is unlikely to get any worse than it already is – the country isn’t expected to completely run out of food.