The reason shelves are empty in supermarkets around the UK

If you’ve noticed a trend of empty supermarket shelves, you may be wondering what the reason is.

Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Tesco are among the major chains that have faced flak from customers on social media for bare shelves at stores across the country.

The supermarkets have responded to their customers to explain that supply issues are caused by a mixture of circumstances, including coronavirus, Brexit, and a lack of lorry drivers.

Tesco says HGV driver shortages led to 48 tonnes of waste food every week, as produce is left to rot instead of being distributed to its supermarkets around the UK. Sainsbury’s has reported similar issues, reports the Mirror.

Coronavirus and self-isolation is also causing staff shortages, while European lorry drivers have cut journeys to the UK due to Brexit and Covid-19 restrictions.

Why some supermarkets are struggling to fill shelves

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates that there is a shortfall of 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK.

Covid-19 travel restrictions and Brexit red tape have led to EU-based drivers not returning to the UK, while the pandemic also led to HGV driver tests being suspended, so new drivers can not qualify in time to make up for the shortfall.

Shops reopening has led to an increase in demand for goods, but there simply are not enough wagon drivers available.

The RHA is appealing to Boris Johnson to take action and boost the supply of lorry drivers. The Government responded to say it is adding more tests, paying for apprenticeships, and letting existing drivers increase their working hours, from nine hours maximum to 11 hours twice a week.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retailers are aware of a fall in HGV driver numbers, resulting in minor disruption to some supply chains.

“This has been exacerbated by the rising case numbers resulting in drivers being forced to self-isolate.”