A piece in today’s Telegraph. Two thoughts occur to me:
- A salad “crisis” seems a small price to pay for regaining national sovereignty; and
- The British people are a resilient lot. They’ll probably survive a month or two of not eating salad leaves, broccoli etc. They’ve faced worse.
One of Britain’s biggest supermarkets has warned that ongoing border closures could lead to a looming salad crisis as shoppers were seen queueing at the crack of dawn for food.
Sainsbury’s said that if nothing changes, “we will start to see gaps over the coming days on lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli and citrus fruit”, which are all imported from Europe.
Tesco also said that ongoing disruption could affect supply of cauliflowers and citrus fruit later this week, but said it currently has plenty of food available for Christmas and encouraged customers to shop as normal.
The Government moved to calm shoppers after pictures on social media showed empty shelves and long queues outside supermarkets in Bristol and London days before Christmas.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC that supply chains were “robust” and most people would not notice any shortages, while a government spokesman urged people to shop as normal.
Several major grocers also reassured customers that there will be no shortage of supplies of Christmas dinner essentials. A spokesman for the British Retail Consortium said most ingredients of a traditional roast are readily available in the UK.
A Waitrose spokesman said: “The vast majority of our festive food is already within the UK – so we’ll have what our customers need, however they are choosing to celebrate.”
Sainsbury’s said it has “plenty” of Christmas lunch ingredients which are already in the UK.
The ongoing disruption at the border has caused fears of shortages and a return to panic buying.
The BRC said on Sunday that 10,000 lorries a day use the Channel crossing and that, while goods were able to enter from France, few haulage firms were willing to risk drivers becoming stranded.
Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers Association, said that although there should be no issues in getting seasonal fruit and vegetables grown in this country, shortages of lorries caused by the border issues or a lack of storage space could still cause problems.
The Government appealed for calm. A spokesman said: “Supermarkets are well prepared and the industry has been clear there is enough stock. People should continue to shop normally, including for their Christmas dinner.”
When asked if consumers will see shortages in supermarkets, Mr Shapps said: “The supply chain is pretty robust in as much as you get variations in supply all the time. For the most part, people won’t notice it.”
Andrew Opie, of the BRC, said: “Retailers have stocked up on goods ahead of Christmas which should prevent immediate problems.
“However, any prolonged closure of the French border would be a problem as the UK enters the final weeks before the transition ends on 31st December.”
French ministers were understood to be on the verge of an agreement to allow produce to begin moving again.
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