The Christmas stock-piling beginsOctober 5, 2021
The festive stock-piling begins: Aldi’s frozen turkey crowns are ALREADY selling 1,500 a day, Christmas pudding sales are up 45% while budget retailer says it has ordered 250,000 ‘Chocolate Orange bombes’ – as Britons hoard ‘£2,000 of food’ ahead of Dec 25
- Panic-buying Britons are already stockpiling for Christmas as supply chain crisis threatens festive period
- Aldi’s frozen turkey crowns are selling 1,500 a day and pudding sales are up 45 per cent on last year
- Families are hoarding as much as £2,000 worth of food ahead of December 25 in case stock runs out
- ***Are YOU already stockpiling for Christmas? Send pictures to [email protected]***
Panic-buying Britons are already stockpiling for Christmas, with budget retailer Aldi’s frozen turkey crowns selling 1,500 a day and pudding sales up 45 per cent as families hoard as much as £2,000 worth of food for the winter holiday amid a supply chain crisis.
Industry experts have been warning Britons to buy their Christmas dinner in advance and even keep it in the freezer as fears mount supermarkets could run out of festive items including pigs in blankets and other party foods in the run up to December 25.
A shortage of butchers means that farmers believe have to ‘throw pigs in a skip’ because they can’t be slaughtered and carved – with 150,000 animals under threat of being culled in the next week.
The meat crisis is compounding woes caused by a lack of HGV drivers and fuel as well as labour shortages that will lead to a ‘distinct lack of choice’ this year, with many essential Christmas gifts and foods scarce or missing completely in a blow to millions.
And with Cabinet Ministers shaking the hopes of millions of people by suggesting there could be empty shelves in supermarkets right up to Christmas, families are apparently taking matters into their own hands by stocking up on anything with a shelf life ‘just in case’.
Staff from supermarket chain Aldi told consumer journalist Harry Wallop at a Christmas showcase that frozen turkey crowns are already 1,500 a day and pudding sales are up 45 per cent on last year. The retailer also revealed that 250,000 ‘Chocolate Orange bombes’ have been ordered from its supplier in anticipation that the dessert is likely to be Aldi’s biggest hit this Christmas.
Marks and Spencer said of their frozen Christmas food have rocketed by 500 per cent in total on last year as families stockpile, with more than 25,000 turkeys sold by the start of October and sales of their party food growing by 40 per cent per week.
Iceland revealed this week that people have already begun filling up on festive frozen food, with turkey sales up by 409 per cent compared to this time last year while the the word ‘Christmas’ reached over 17,000 searches across its website in the past week alone.
And Tesco executives have reportedly warned the Government that it is worried about panic-buying in the run-up to Christmas being ‘far worse’ than stockpiling that took place at the start of the pandemic last year, according to trade magazine The Grocer.
Desperate to ensure Christmas is normal this year after the chaos of Covid last year, single mother Pat Smith, 26, has splurged £2,000 on food already, clearing shelves at six supermarkets and grabbing 24 multipacks of crisps to her overflowing trolley rather than just one.
She told the Sun: ‘I don’t want to miss out. I’ve planned and I’m ready. I am buying what I need for the next four months including Christmas Day. Last year’s lockdown hit me hard. I ran short of items and couldn’t get to the shops regularly.
‘When I did, the shelves were empty. As Christmas approached, I was devastated my family wouldn’t have everything they needed. I couldn’t get a turkey or the special ingredients I use to make the stuffing. My family’s favourite drinks were either too expensive due to price hikes or not available. I ended up serving cold chicken and ham with salad.’
It comes as Ipsos Mori polling shared with MailOnline reveals panic-buying, the energy crisis, a shortage of HGV drivers and fuel are some of the biggest concerns Britons have about this winter, with 54 per cent of families worried they can’t afford Christmas this year.
Staff from supermarket chain Aldi told consumer journalist Harry Wallop at a Christmas showcase that frozen turkey crowns (left) are already 1,500 a day and pudding sales (centre) are up 45 per cent on last year. The retailer also revealed that 250,000 ‘Chocolate Orange bombes’ (right) have been ordered from its supplier in anticipation that the dessert is likely to be Aldi’s biggest hit this Christmas
Food industry experts warned shoppers to brace themselves for an increase of ‘four or five per cent’ by the end of November followed by a similar rise in January
Britons were warned a ‘nightmare’ Christmas is looming as the growing list of items set to be in short-supply come December 25 stretched to include pigs in blankets, hams and party foods. Turkeys, drinks, toys and furniture will also be hard to get
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Richard Harrow, chief executive of the British Frozen Food Federation, said: ‘Frozen food sales grew rapidly during the pandemic and we are now seeing evidence of a growing awareness of frozen food’s quality, convenience and ability to reduce food waste.’
James Withers, of Scotland Food & Drink, told the Independent that families should ‘plan ahead’ and freeze what they can as early as possible to avoid having missing ingredients to a traditional Christmas dinner.
‘Ultimately, now I think we have just run out of time,’ he warned.
‘I don’t think there is anything that can be done now to get the Christmas trade where it should be. That’s despite warnings being sounded since the summer of the scale of the potential labour shortage we might face.’
Polling shared with MailOnline by Ipsos Mori indicates that panic is sweeping the nation, with 75 per cent of people stating panic-buying was something they were worried about affecting their Christmas negatively, closely followed by the energy crisis (70 per cent).
A lack of HGV drivers to deliver food, presents and other goods was also of serious concern (68 per cent), followed by inflation at 62 per cent. Six in ten people are also worried about the impact of the current fuel crisis, while 54 per cent of people admitted they are concerned they could catch Covid.
Bridget Williams, Ipsos Mori’s research director, said: ‘Despite Boris Johnson’s plans to ”save Christmas”, the majority of people are currently concerned about the impact of all these crises on Christmas this year. As well as likely shortages of food, drinks and presents to buy, there are concerns about a squeeze in household incomes with rising prices, particularly amongst women and families with children.’
The Prime Minister said he is ‘not worried’ about the staffing shortages which have played a role in petrol pumps running dry and risk a mass pig cull and shortages this Christmas.
Pig cull BEGINS: Devastated farmers are forced to slaughter more than 500 animals to stop dangerous overcrowding and euthanise piglets as staff shortages leave abattoirs unable to process pork
500 pigs have been slaughtered and hundreds more of their piglets have been euthanised as the huge cull of pigs in Britain began today with farmers blaming a shortage of butchers and HGV drivers to transport animals to abattoirs.
Boris Johnson has said the mass slaughter of pigs has ‘not yet taken place’ but farmers wearing ‘save our bacon’ T-shirts who gathered to protest outside Tory Conference in Manchester say different.
They said in the past two days hundreds of pigs have been culled by either being shot with a bolt gun or given a lethal injection by a vet and then either burnt or buried.
The National Pig Association (NPA) has revealed that members in East Anglia have told them that the mass slaughter has started because they can’t get into abattoirs – with 500 pigs killed in the region – and piglets have also been euthanised because they will have nowhere to house them on backed up farms.
Chief executive Zoe Davies said: ‘This is just the beginning’ as she and other experts predict that between 120,000 and 150,000 animals are under threat of being culled in the next ten days.
She said: ‘This is not excess supply, farmers have been contracted to grow these pigs, but the facilities are taking a quarter less than they agreed because they simply don’t have the butchers. The Government has to help now because all the processors have tried very hard to recruit lately, wages have gone up exponentially over the last few months. The reality is that most people in the UK do not want to work in abattoirs and it doesn’t matter how much you pay them.’
The NPA wants the Government to offer 12-month visas to EU butchers to ease the crisis – but sources close to the Prime Minister told The Times he is determined not to relax immigration rules and believes that abattoirs must increase wages and also develop new tech and better facilities to solve the crisis themselves.
Boris Johnson played down the prospect that rising inflation rates could cancel out wage growth as he pins his long-term hopes on transitioning into a high-wage high-skilled economy in the wake of Brexit.
Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if there was a crisis, he said: ‘No, I think that, on the contrary, what you’re seeing with the UK economy, and indeed the global economy, is very largely in the supply chains the stresses and strains that you’d expect from a giant waking up, and that’s what’s happening.’
Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds said Mr Johnson ‘is so out of touch that he can’t see a crisis when it’s staring him in the face’ as she highlighted teachers who could not get to school because they could not find petrol or those who will struggle after the Universal Credit cut.
‘It is a crisis made in Downing Street and it’s the Prime Minister’s responsibility to sort it out,’ the MP said.
The Prime Minister, attending the Tory party conference in Manchester, was pressed on what his plans are for staffing shortages that have hit the hospitality industry and led to farmers warning thousands of pigs will have to be incinerated because of a shortage of butchery and abattoir workers.
‘There is no alternative,’ he told Channel 4 News from the Midland Hotel as he reiterated plans for investment and training for workers.
It was a phrase he repeated when asked about concerns about rising inflation and interest rates during the transition into his ‘new approach’ after Brexit.
‘In a famous phrase, there is no alternative. There is no alternative,’ he told ITV News.
‘We can do much, much better by becoming a higher wage, higher productivity economy. And, what I think… we’ve got a fantastic supply chain, fantastically clever people work on our logistics, and they will fix all these problems.’
He told BBC News ‘people have been worried about inflation for a long time and it hasn’t materialised’, and said he did not share others’ concerns.
‘We’re moving to a new approach and I do not want to go back to what I think is a tired old failed approach, which people voted against twice in 2016 and in 2019,’ he said.
‘Some of the people who would be writing to me, may be worried about this, but I’m not worried about this because, actually, I think it would be good for their businesses to invest in people.’
Earlier in the day, Mr Johnson said that just 127 of the 300 visas for tanker drivers to come to the UK immediately have been granted and argued supply chain problems are caused ‘very largely by the strength of the economic recovery’.
‘What we said to the road haulage industry was: ‘Fine, give us the names of the drivers that you want to bring in and we will sort out the visas, you’ve got another 5,000 visas,” the Prime Minister told BBC Breakfast. ‘They only produced 127 names so far. What that shows is the global shortage.’
The Department for Transport later clarified that of the 127 visas issued, 27 were for fuel tanker drivers and the remaining 100 were for food hauliers.
Mr Johnson has insisted Christmas would be better than last year’s coronavirus-blighted festive season, despite warnings about supply chain problems. However he has repeatedly refused to rule out shortages in the wider economy in the run-up to Christmas.
As well as an estimated shortfall of 100,000 HGV drivers, businesses from meat producers to retailers have warned of empty shelves if the shortages are not addressed.
Britain faces a ‘double whammy’ of food-price rises that will squeeze consumers already facing drastic hikes in energy and household bills, experts warn
Britain faces a ‘double whammy’ of food-price rises that will squeeze consumers already facing drastic hikes in energy and household bills.
Food industry experts warned shoppers to brace themselves for an increase of ‘four or five per cent’ by the end of November followed by a similar rise in January.
David Sables, a food industry veteran who helps suppliers negotiate with big firms, said the first set of price hikes were linked to rising cost of commodities, raw materials and labour in recent months.
But he warned the effects of the current gas crisis, lorry driver shortage and carbon dioxide shortages had not yet filtered through.
CO2 is used in food production, including salad bags and meat packaging, and soaring gas bills have forced some suppliers to shut.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) disagreed with Mr Johnson’s comments over the Government asking for names of European lorry drivers they want to work in the UK.
Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy and public affairs at the RHA, told the PA news agency: ‘There isn’t a database of lorry drivers with names attached to them and want to work in Britain that British lorry firms can tap into and say: ‘We’ll have that one, that one, that one or that one.’ It doesn’t work like that, it doesn’t exist.
‘The only way it works is the Government advertises that short-term visas are available, Europeans think about it, decide whether they want to or don’t want to, and act accordingly. And, clearly, only 127 to date have acted accordingly.’
Mr McKenzie added that while he had seen reports that 27 drivers had applied compared to Mr Johnson stating that 127 had applied, he said he did not know how many had actually applied as the association was not privy to that information.
He added: ‘Why would you give up a well-paid job in Europe, to come and drive a truck in Britain for a very short period of time when you have to get a six-month let on a flat and go through all the hassle, initially to be chucked out on Christmas Eve, but now, we’re told, for a bit later?
‘It is not an attractive offer and, effectively, what Europeans have done is kind of vote with their feet on that.’
The Prime Minister’s comments came as average petrol prices rose 0.91p a litre in a week from 135.19p last week to 136.1p on Tuesday, and diesel 1.7p from 137.9p to 139.2p, according to new Government figures.
It is the highest level for petrol since it cost 136.9p in September 2013, and for diesel since it was 139.15p in October of the same year.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Government will do all it can to ‘mitigate’ global supply issues, but he conceded he cannot ‘wave a magic wand’ to make supply chain problems go away and did not rule out Christmas being affected.
It comes as around 200 military personnel – half of them drivers – are being deployed to the roads for the first time to help deliver petrol to forecourts.
Around 22 per cent of filling stations in London and the South East still do not have fuel, according to executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association Gordon Balmer.
And despite Ministers insisting the situation at the pumps, which has seen queues and panic-buying, is easing, Operation Escalin launched on Monday.
Members of the armed forces arrived at the Buncefield oil depot in Hemel Hempstead to help deliver fuel to filling stations, with soldiers, in uniform and wearing face masks, spotted walking near the gates to the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal.
But Downing Street said the speed at which the crisis abates will depend on demand.
Pig farmers protesting outside the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester as it was revealed 500 pigs have been slaughtered and burnt
A staff member on an isle at a Tesco store in Swansea, south Wales (stock image)
Boris Johnson compared the current disruption to a ‘giant waking up’, saying it was what you would expect of the global economy recovering and ‘sucking in demand’
Boris says it is ‘not my job to fix all of the UK’s problems’: PM’s astonishing claim as he denies nation is in ‘crisis’ and DISMISSES inflation spike fears, fuel shortages and empty supermarket shelves as ‘just part of his new approach’
Boris Johnson defiantly dismissed fears over spiking inflation and supply chain chaos today, saying the UK is switching to a ‘new approach’ and it is not his job to fix all the problems for business.
In interviews at Tory conference that will spark fresh fury from industry, the PM denied that the country is in ‘crisis’ comparing the disruption to a ‘giant waking up’ and ‘creaking’ after the pandemic.
Despite Cabinet ministers telling MailOnline they were concerned about ‘complacency’ about inflation, now on track to be double the Bank of England’s target, Mr Johnson said he was not ‘worried’ about it running out of control.
He also pushed the responsibility for solving the problems back on the private sector, insisting it is ‘not the job of government to come in and fix every problem’.
But he admitted that Christmas might only be better from a ‘low base’ amid fears of ongoing shortages – after it was effectively cancelled during the pandemic last year.
A number of industries are seeing labour shortages, including in meat processing. And it has prompted warnings that Christmas favourites such as pigs in blankets may not be available for shoppers this year.
On a visit to a Network Rail site in Manchester with Mr Sunak, the Prime Minister said the supply chain issues were ‘a function of the world economy, particularly the UK economy, coming back to life after Covid’.
‘There is a shortage of lorry drivers actually around the world, from Poland to the United States, and even in China they are short of lorry drivers,’ he said.
‘I think what we’re seeing is the recovery of the economy. We’ve now got the fastest-growing economy in the G7 and I think we’ve got unemployment way lower than people forecast, you’ve got jobs being created the whole time.
‘What we want to see are high-wage, high-skilled jobs and I think business is doing a fantastic job of investing in apprenticeships, investing in skills, and that’s the way to go for the UK.
‘On things like the road haulage industry, the thing to do is make the job more attractive, invest in the truck stops and invest in higher wages as well.’
However, No 10 said there was no ‘hard deadline’ for when a transition to the ‘high wage, high-skilled economy’ the Prime Minister promised would be complete.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘It’s not something we would have a hard deadline for, considering it will cover a number of different sectors.
‘Obviously, what we’ll want to do is support sectors when needed, to help make that transition as you’re seeing us do with things like HGV drivers currently, and other sectors such as poultry, for example.’
Earlier, Mr Sunak told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We’re seeing supply disruption, not just here but in lots of different places, and there are things we can try and mitigate, and we are.
‘But we can’t wave a magic wand. There’s nothing I can do about the decision by a country in Asia to shut down a port because of a coronavirus outbreak.’
Pig farmers protested outside the Conservative Party conference on Monday as industry leaders called for a Covid recovery visa to allow firms to recruit from outside the UK.
Meanwhile, Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said he was ‘surprised’ that Mr Johnson appeared to be unaware of problems facing pig farmers when questioned on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.
Mr Allen told Sky News that Christmas turkeys are likely to be from the Continent this year due to labour shortages in Britain following Brexit, and added that some foods, such as pigs in blankets, may not be available.
‘We’re not saying that there’s not going to be food on the table at Christmas, but we’re struggling to put the party food together – the pigs in blankets, the netting of gammons,’ he said.
However, the chairman of supermarket Morrisons said concerns have been ‘slightly overblown’.
Andy Higginson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘There are logistical issues at the moment and those are well publicised and slightly overblown. Supply chains in the UK are incredibly efficient and I am sure we will be able to deliver a great Christmas for customers as we go through.’
Are YOU already stockpiling for Christmas? Send pictures to [email protected]
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