Labour shortages continue to impact availability.

Operational labour and HGV driver shortages continue to disrupt food supply chains. Although there are some regional variations, absence rates within the food and consumer goods industry due to the Omicron variant remain largely manageable and are declining.

Food and consumer goods businesses have been hit hard by recruitment and retention challenges. This is resulting in lower order fulfilment levels than normal, meaning there is an impact on availability of some food and groceries.

The government has committed to a package of support including the issuing of temporary visas for HGV drivers.

In the latest shopper research conducted for IGD ( last weekend (04-06 February 2022), more adults (66%) interviewed experienced shortages of some food and groceries in-store or online recently, up from 63% in late January. Despite this increase, there is no upward trend.

Four in ten shoppers (41%) have recently felt the need to stock up or purchase more than they normally do compared to 37% a fortnight ago. This is the highest point recorded since January 2021 but remains well below the highest point of 64% in April 2020.

There has been an increase in the numbers saying they will or might stock up (44% vs 39% two weeks ago). This remains lower than the 60% recorded in March’20.