Brexit blamed for Diet Coke and Coke Zero shortage fears

2 September 2021, 14:23

Coca-Cola's bottling company for UK and Europe is facing a shortage of cans.
Coca-Cola's bottling company for UK and Europe is facing a shortage of cans. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Supply chain issues could lead to a shortage of Diet Coke and Coke Zero in shops as Coca-Cola issued a warning about availability of aluminium cans.

The shortage of cans, due to a lack of HGV drivers, is the latest in a series of supply chain issues that have affected UK consumers, blamed widely on Brexit, Covid-19 and a lack of available qualified lorry drivers in the UK.

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) have revealed that it recently faced a shortage of HGV drivers, which many have blamed on factors including Brexit.

The shortage is having an impact on the firm's ability to provide enough canned products to meet demand, although the company said they are committed to delivering "extremely high service levels".

But in recent weeks social media users have complained about struggling to find canned Diet Coke and Coke Zero products.

Nik Jhangiani, chief financial officer of CCEP said: "Supply chain management has become the most important aspect following the pandemic, to ensure we have continuity for customers.

Read more: Tim Martin's Wetherspoons hit by Brexit beer shortage

"We are very happy with how we have performed in the circumstances, with service levels higher than a lot of our market competitors.

"There are still logistical challenges and issues though, as with every sector, and the shortage of aluminium cans is a key one for us now, but we are working with customers to successfully manage this."

This comes as many other companies in the food and drink industry have reported similar supply chain issues. Bottled drinks supplies across UK retail have been particularly impacted by HGV driver shortages.

McDonalds recently announced that all milkshakes and bottled drinks would be unavailable in some stores. Meanwhile, Nando's and KFC have faced chicken shortages, and Greggs has faced a shortage of certain ingredients.

Read more: McDonalds runs out of milkshakes amid disruption to supply chain

Read more: KFC and Nando's chicken shortage 'crisis' caused by 'Brexit' poultry chief claims

Companies have blamed the driver shortage on Brexit, as well as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, unlike McDonalds, CCEP stressed it has seen a "limited" impact on its supply of bottled drinks.

Despite the recent supply chain problems, CCEP revealed recently that its pre-tax profits almost doubled to £466.7 million for the period to July 2.

Chief executive of CCEP Damian Gammell said: "Whilst we are reassured by the pace of recovery and are cautiously optimistic, our strong H1 performance and full-year guidance for 2021 demonstrate our confidence in the future of our business.

"We will go further together, creating greater, more sustainable value for all stakeholders."