Pumpkin shortages are expected to hit Britain this Halloween, experts have warned.
According to the i, shortages of lorry drivers and fruit pickers which hit supplies over the summer are behind the problem, after EU citizens quit Britain.
The weather is also further contributing to the pumpkin shortages, as parts of the UK only had 65 per cent of the average amount of sunshine last month.
Lyburn Farm in Salisbury, a leading wholesale pumpkin supplier, said it is already not taking any more orders for 2021 because they are oversubscribed.
They said: “The crop is now looking good but slow to ripen due to lack of sunshine and heat, as a result they are still looking very green.
“Transport is clearly going to be another issue as will the harvesting.”
‘Transport will clearly be an issue’
The yearly Mole Valley Squash and Pumpkin Show, which were due to take place in October, has also been cancelled because of a lack of pumpkins.
Last week, the Food and Drink Federation boss said the days when UK consumers could expect to pick up nearly whatever product they want whenever they want from supermarket shelves are over.
The farm to fork supply chain is missing around half a million of the four million people that usually work in the sector. Part of this will have come from EU nationals leaving the UK amid the pandemic and Brexit, he said.
Many businesses have reported huge issues in their supply chains in recent months, leaving some shop shelves empty, or forcing restaurants to remove items from their menus.
‘It won’t get better after getting worse’
“It’s going to get worse, and it’s not going to get better after getting worse any time soon,” Wright told listeners at an event organised by the Institute for Government.
He added: “The result of the labour shortages is that the just-in-time system that has sustained supermarkets, convenience stores and restaurants – so the food has arrived on shelf or in the kitchen, just when you need it – is no longer working.
“And I don’t think it will work again, I think we will see we are now in for permanent shortages.”
Meanwhile, 56 per cent of Britons have now noticed food shortages in their local shops or supermarkets.
The figures are up from 45 per cent in mid August, and 36 per cent in late July, according to YouGov polls.
Of the 56 per cent, the age group which most noticed the shortages are those aged over 50.
Around 100,000 truck drivers, previously made up primarily of Eastern Europeans, have left the government desperately trying to fill the vacancies because of post-Brexit rules.
But although transport minister Grant Shapps admitted the road freight sector faces “historic shortages” he said: “I do not support using foreign labour to tackle a long-standing issue in the haulage industry.”
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