Supermarkets all report that cautious Brits are stockpiling festive essentials like turkey, stuffing and party food now in case they struggle to get them nearer to December 25
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Demand for turkeys is soaring ahead of Christmas as shoppers brace for festive food shortages, experts warn.
Frozen turkey sales has almost doubled, according to analysts at Kantar, suggesting that Brits are stashing them in the freezer in case they can’t find any closer to Christmas .
Kantar also said frozen stuffing sales are up by a fifth, while Iceland said it had seen a 400% increase in turkey sales and a three-fold hike in frozen party food purchases.
Food experts have told shoppers they should consider buying Christmas dinner in advance and storing it in the freezer if they want to avoid going without.
Iceland managing director Richard Walker said the supermarket’s Christmas website had gone live a month earlier than 2020 following customer demand.
Aldi has also reported soaring sales of frozen turkeys and Christmas puddings amid fears over a supply chain crisis.
The supermarket is reportedly selling 1,500 frozen crowns a day, while pudding sales are up 45%.
Families are said to be hoarding as much as £2,000 worth of food for the festive season as a supply chain crisis continues.
Tesco has also noticed an uptick in frozen turkey sales, while two weeks ago frozen turkeys sold out at a number of supermarkets as Brits got ready for Christmas.
Kantar consumer insight director Eden Plummer said: “This year you can understand that some people want to make sure they have everything they need in advance to make sure they have the celebration they weren’t able to have last year.”
The meat crisis is building upon issues caused by a lack of HGV drivers, which has also led to a shortage of fuel at petrol stations and labour shortfalls that could result in a lack of choice come the festive season.
Some Christmas gifts and foods are expected to be scarce or off the shelves completely.
Meanwhile the British Meat Processors Association has said the industry is short about 15,000 workers , including many butchers, due to Covid and post-Brexit visa rules.
Chief Executive of the British Frozen Food Federation Richard Harrow said some customers have been “permanently converted” to buying frozen.
He said: “This combined with current concerns about food supply means many people will be opting for frozen this Christmas.”
Earlier this month the UK Cabinet minister for food raised doubts over turkey supplies this Christmas.
George Eustice was asked on BBC Question Time if Brits would see as much on the shelves at Christmas as usual.
He replied “yes” but then qualified his answer, saying it depended on getting “sufficient HGV capacity”.
Eustice said: “Yes – we’ve been working very closely with the supermarkets on this and although it’s undoubtedly the case that there’s a shortage of labour right through the economy at the moment, typically most businesses carrying vacancies of around 12-14%, although we’ve got these shortages, they are managing to keep their output going.
“And provided we can get sufficient HGV capacity and bring in the seasonal labour we need for sectors like turkeys, then yes, we will get the food to the supermarkets for Christmas.”