UK supply chain crisis continues to impact across business sectors

Mounting concerns regarding supply chain shortages across the food and drink sector, including the confectionery, snacks and bakery markets within the UK remains particularly concerning.

The situation the country is facing, with delays to product ranges leading to consumer complaints of reduced availability of a number of key shopping lines is perhaps little surprise given the scale of the problem – Britain presently has a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers that is impacting severely on a host of sectors.

This in combination with other rapidly evolving issues including energy shortages brought about by a significant increase in industry prices in August, has sent waves of concern across sectors that have painted a picture of an economy facing particular hardship.

Underlining this, a warning from accountancy firm MHA this week that the UK government’s decision to put off EU border checks yet again until January 2022 is only storing up problems down the line – and with just three months to resolve major differences, it’s not looking especially like that would be enough time to enact key legislation to rectify the increasingly tense situation that now exists.

Observers have noted that the impact of Covid-19 has clearly played its part in the past 18 months in testing the resources of many industry segments including the confectionery sector, the real culprit remains the Brexit agreement the UK government championed at the end of 2020. Just eight or nine months on from the company hailing its ‘oven ready deal,’ the UK’s chief negotiators are now advocating a comprehensive re-appraisal of the very same documents they had so enthusiastically lauded a matter of months previously.

Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, has also warned that the present supply chain crisis is set to cause significant disruption, noting that markets including bakery supplies would be particularly hit by the situation.

Clearly, urgent action from the government is required if we are to stave off a potential ‘winter of discontent’ where shoppers struggle to gain access to some of their favourite ranges, including items within confectionery and snacks segments.

Neill Barston, editor, Confectionery Production

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