Co-op boss blames Brexit and Covid for the worst food shortages he's ever seen

25 August 2021, 12:28

The chief said both Covid and Brexit are responsible for food shortages
The chief said both Covid and Brexit are responsible for food shortages. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Co-op boss Steve Murrells has blamed Brexit and Covid for food shortages in stores across the country.

It comes as both supermarkets and restaurants are facing ongoing problems with the supply chain.

"The shortages are at a worse level than at any time I have seen," Mr Murrells told The Times.

The crisis is a result of “Brexit and issues caused by Covid”, he said, with post-Brexit migration rules a particular problem.

Due to ongoing complications with the supply chain, Mr Murrells admitted he has been forced to reduce some ranges sold in Co-op stores.

He also revealed that he has had to retrain staff as lorry drivers with hopes of getting things moving again.

Read more: Warning over Christmas pigs in blankets shortage due to post-Brexit supply problems

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

The nation-wide shortage of HGV drivers currently stands at around 100,000, according to the Road Haulage Association (RHA).

It has also been estimated that 14,000 European lorry drivers left the UK last year, with barely 600 returning by July 2021.

However, there has also been a lack of fruit pickers and meat processors, among other roles in the industry.

Fast food chain McDonald's was revealed to be the latest hit with supply problems.

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

It has been forced to stop selling milkshakes, along with bottled drinks, in restaurants across England, Scotland and Wales.

A spokesperson said the chain was working to bring the items back on the menu as soon as possible.

KFC and Nandos have also been impacted by a chicken shortage, meaning they have had to close some of their restaurants.