Turkey sales are up 400% amid fears the country will run out of meat – especially its Christmas favorites – before the Christmas season.
According to Icealed, frozen turkey sales have increased 409% year over year since The telegraph reports that customers are “concerned about food supplies”.
UK Frozen Food Federation Chairman Richard Harrow said: “… a lot of people will be choosing frozen food this Christmas.”
James Withers of Scotland Food & Drink said, “At the end of the day, I just don’t have time.
“I don’t think there’s anything that can be done now to get the holiday shopping season to where it belongs.
“And that despite the fact that warnings about the extent of the possible labor shortage have been issued since the summer.”
According to The Times, ministers are considering plans to ease visa restrictions on up to 1,000 foreign butchers.
A spokesman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs told the PA news agency it was aware of the labor shortage.
The meat industry was forced to focus on supplying supermarkets with land due to a lack of butchers (Jon Super / PA)
“We understand the importance of seasonal work and are aware of the challenges the pig industry has faced in recent months due to the Covid-19 pandemic and labor shortage, and Defra has worked closely with the pig and processing sectors during this time.” ” he said.
“We are closely monitoring the market and continue to work closely with the sector to review options to address the pressures the industry is currently facing.”
The Times reported that the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said the industry is short of about 15,000 workers, forcing its members to focus only on supplying supermarkets with basic cuts of meat.
A BMPA spokesman was quoted as saying, “We should have been producing Christmas dinner from June or July this year, and we haven’t done so yet, so there will be a lack of party food and things like pigs in blankets. Anything that is labor-intensive could lead to bottlenecks. “
Priti Patel reportedly not interested in filling the labor gap with employees from outside the UK (Marc Ward / PA)
The newspaper said Interior Minister Priti Patel opposed hiring foreign butchers.
A Home Office spokesman told PA: “We are closely monitoring labor supply and working with industry leaders to understand how we can best alleviate certain tweaks. Other countries around the world face similar challenges.
“We want employers to make long-term investments in the UK domestic workforce rather than relying on overseas workers. Our Plan for Jobs is helping people across the country retrain, develop new skills and get back into work.
“The government encourages all sectors to make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers by offering training, career options, wage increases and investment.”
The UK economy has been disrupted by several factors that have been bubbling for months, including labor shortages, new immigration rules for truck drivers and the ongoing effects of the pandemic.
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