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  • Supermarket shelves emptying ... but what is to blame?

    Recently, visiting the local supermarket has brought back flashes from the height of Covid in 2020. The emptying shelves and nationwide lack of toilet roll, although now not as pronounced or as toilet paper -focused, has led me to wonder what is behind this? It seems to be a lesser spoken about subject, however shelves are definitely emptier. Is this a fall-out effect from Covid, or could it be an early Brexit indication of issues to come?

    Looking into this a little deeper it seems that the Road Haulage Association believe this to be a combination effect. There is a shortage of supermarket staff following job lay-offs over the last year and self-isolation after coming into contact with an infection case. This is coupled with a shortage of lorry drivers, estimated to be around 100,000 fewer than needed, as a direct effect of Brexit, meaning it is harder for people from other European countries to work in the UK. Many drivers also returned to their home countries during the pandemic and training of new drivers ground to a halt over the last year or so. The combination has resulted in some of our biggest supermarket chains, such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco, warning that they are now unable to keep their shelves fully stocked.

    With so many different factors playing a part in this situation, do we think this is a long-term problem or simply a short-term effect of a rocky few months?
    • I was in a supermarket a few days ago and noticed that there were very few crisps or similar items a..

    • Bottled water seems to be in short supply. There was a real run on it during the hot weather, as so ..

    • As for all those thousands of empty plastic bottles everyday.....

    • Sainsburys seems to be one of the worst for empty shelves.

    • @Sc... I think medium-term until more drivers are trained – I dare say that job losses elsewh..

    • @An... My local Sainsbury's (and our Tesco Local) are both blaming driver shortages for gaps on their..

    • No empty shelves or shortages here at my local Morrisons. This could be a regional problem, mismanag..

    • @Ve... Morrisons may have a better system of depots than the biggest supermarket chains, so deriding..

    • I found this useful 'Reality Check' article, which was published fairly recently. It notes that the ..

    • @Di... not having a "a better system of depots" is mismanagement and lack of foreward planning. Ald..

    • @Ve... I don't think mismanagement, because I read warnings some months ago about this looming probl..

    • @Pe... I do wonder if many drivers have swopped to doing home deliveries, near home during the pand..

    • @Ve... Very,very few will have swapped, I would guess. Lots of other industries -- we had quite a fe..

    • @Di... if warned months ago they should have been forward planning, many businesses made contingenc..

    • @Ve... - it's not mismanagement. 'Distribution' is part of their core business. But the delivery cha..

    • Maybe if there was more emphasis for our youngsters to go into trades rather than this push for them..

    • @Pe... It is always the consumer, would be nice just to hear “we cut our profit margins a little bi..

    • Over the last few weeks i have found it to be on certain items, first it was Birds eye frozen pea, t..

    • @So... they don’t all go to University. It’s around 50% . Others do apprenticeships, college cour..

    • @Ro... There's also the cost. Firstly they may have to take driving lessons and then they have to q..

    • @Ve... Long-distance lorry driving sounds like a horrible way to earn a living. Shorter journeys, in..

    • @Bo... At least there are usually alternatives to such items, unlike the earlier problem with shelve..

    • @Ro... Insurance rates will be prohibitive for young drivers, though. I don't see insurers wanting ..

    • @Di... yes, guess what they sent instead of rhubarb = beetroot.

    • Lidl and aldi are always stocked well

    • No Aldi round my way and the Lidl in Bromley is quite small with no parking.

    • @Bo... On the very rare occasions that I'm not well enough to shop in person and get home deliveries..

    • @Di... I never go to big supermarkets, just my little local Co-op and always have deliveries from A..

    • Some items disappeared completely. E.g. vol au vents on other items on online ordering limited choic..

    • No problems my area.

    • There has been a big balance shift, in favour of universities you can see this by how many with degr..

    • @Bo... Beetroot and custard yummy. 😝

    • @So... - I think rates are still low in this country relative to others. Also, companies always w..

    • @An... - The cost of a standard driving test is relatively small. It costs thousands to train and pas..

    • @Di... - admittedly there is always scope for the shopper to choose something inappropriate, but th..

    • @Pe... I always accept subs, they are pretty good usually and you can always not accept them when t..

    • @Da... - exactly. The other point is that if you have a substitute, you may have the opportunity to ..

    • Isn't that what technical colleges are for. If that's what they are still called. @Pe...

    • @So... - no idea. The companies still need to be willing to take on inexperienced staff, as train..

    • Thank you for all of your views; some very interesting thoughts & points around! Hopefully it is as ..

    • Only minor and usually temporary delays with some products but nothing significant

    • Sainsbury's have not yet shown any shortages in my weekly delivered shopping. I think shortage of de..

    • My Sainsburys delivery today didn't have any Heinz baked beans or Cadburys drinking chocolate or War..

    • @Bo... wow, all the brands for you!

    • I couldn't get any Imodium in my delivery today. I better not go out then. .😊

    • @Ma... And don't sneeze either!

    • @Ry... - only if we are all on holiday!

    • @Bo... - I hoped you allowed substitutions then, as Sainsbury's sell multiple varieties (including o..

    • @Pe... Tried it dont like it as much as the 'toastie'

    • @Pe... there is always less choice on small loaves.

    • @Pe...

      The supermarket suppliers have the same problem plus the Covid escapade.

    • @Bo... - I don't buy the smaller loaves as they don't make a decent sandwich -- not enough filling! ..

    • @Ry... - agreed. I was being flippant. (Perish the thought!) It's HGV drivers that are in short supp..

    • @An... I'll cross me legs

    • @Pe... I always keep my bread in the freezer but I have 1 white and 1 wholemeal and wouldn't have r..

    • I don’t have a problem with bread delivery or storage. I make my own wholemeal soda bread and bread,..

    • @Cl... I've tried repeatedly to make my own bread but it always turns out leaden. Using the same ..

    • @Bo... keep my large wholemeal in fridge, two for me to toast, one slice for queuing birds, maybe sa..

    • @Se... so that is 5 slices a day - I only have 2 and sometimes none.

    • @Bo... my last choice of meal would probably be buttered toast - I'm a peasant at heart.

    • @Se... - stick Marmite on that and I can eat slice after slice. (So I don't, very often.)

    • @Di... - I was going to say my breadmaker coped OK down here, but then I realised the delicious bre..

    • @Pe... I would! And do! 😂

    • @Di... I can’t see the problem being anything to do with the water. What flour do you use? You coul..

    • @Pe... This is your fault Peter! I hadn't even thought of it until you mentioned it.

      Do you know,..

    • @De... They don't know what they are missing, todays lunch for me is toast with beef & onion drippi..

    • Soda bread is comparatively easy to make - my ex M/Law, many years ago, used to save sour milk to mi..

    • @Bo... Don't start me on dripping! Lots of jelly, lots of flavour.

      When I worked for the BBC, it w..

    • @Se... yes and no need for a bread making machine either!

    • @Bo... Used to love dripping, with lots of salt and pepper. As you say wouldn't eat it now

    • @Cl... Soda bread is gorgeous but has no lasting capacity, so it's not a great solution for a one..

    • @Di... I used to be able to get live yeast at both Sainsbury's and Tesco. That was when the bakers ..

    • @De... I shall try my soda bread recipe this week, must be quite old as still talks about milk in p..

    • @Se... mine was 350gms flour, 1/2 pint (ml equivalent) of buttermilk (or soured milk), one and a ha..

    • @Di... I wrap my soda bread in tin foil as I use it. Keeps very well.

    • @De... 1.5lbs. S/r flour, 1 pint milk, sm. tspoon baking powder and salt, knead 4 times, oven No. 6..

    • @De... The cross scored on the top of soda bread has nothing to do with the cooking of it. The prac..

    • @Cl... undoubtedly you are correct about the cross, but I took the information from :


    • @De... I don't know where my S/R flour came from, I have book-marked the above.

    • @Se... if you've been happy with yours before, stick with it.

      I tried the one I posted and won't b..

    • @De... I can't remember the last time I had it but will set give it a try again. (I am no cook).

    • @De... - I can confirm that in-store bakeries do actually make bread as I have seen pallets contain..

    • @Pe... Thanks Peter, granted I haven't tried Sainsbury's recently, but when I asked in Tesco (along..

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    • @De... Sainsbury's does sell yeast but only the dried form, which isn't working for me; hence the i..

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      Replies (1)
    • @Di... sorry, I should have mentioned "Live" yeast (it would be a white(ish) block and worked a tre..

    • @De... What on earth does any of this have to do with the subject of this thread?

      Please don't add..

    • Has this thread turned into Bake Off? I had to scroll up to remind me what the original post was.

    • @So... just been to the shops. Shelves all full

    • @Ro... We haven't had any problems, no shortages at all thank goodness my end.

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