Booker delivery labour shortage crisis

Major suppliers including Pilgrim Foods, Quorn, Addo Food Groups and Warburtons have axed best-selling lines in response to the labour crisis in production and distribution.

Symbol group messages to stores outlining the latest round of shelf gaps come as the National Farmers Union said visas for a further 50,000 migrant workers would be needed in order to get food production back to capacity following a Brexit-related exodus of migrant labour.

Pilgrims Food Masters cut production of Richmond Thin 340g and Richmond Thick 205g lines for the week and capped orders on Mattessons Honey Roast Ham 250g,  Cooked Ham 250g and Cooked Ham 100g lines for two weeks.

At Quorn, its lasagne, tikka massala and cottage pie ready meals were all ‘temporarily delisted’ with no notice given of when production would restart.

Addo Food Group’s Walls Cornish Pasty is also out for ‘at least three weeks’, also due to ‘labour challenges.’

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At Brexit-backers Warburtons, the baker announced at the end of October that it was ‘resting’ 10 lines until mid-January in order to protect availability of key lines over the Christmas period. The lines to be temporarily discontinued are 400g Premium Brown, 400g Weight Watchers Thick Wholemeal, Country White, 800g White Bloomer, 800g Half and Half Thick, 400g White Farmhouse, 400g Premium Wholegrain Oat, 400g Fruit Loaf with orange, 4 square sandwich rolls and 5 Sesame Bagels.

Major supply problems are also ongoing at Walkers, though these were attributed to an ‘IT glitch’ rather than staff shortages. The suppliers biggest lines – single packs of Ready Salted, Salt and Vinegar, Cheese and Onion and Prawn Cocktail are all unavailable until at least 6 November, with single packs of Smokey Bacon and Roast Chicken also unavailable with no date given for stock becoming available again.

Read more about the labour crisis