2 Sisters Food Group Founder Warns Of Food Shortages In UK
The founder of 2 Sisters Food Group, Ranjit Singh Boparan, has suggested that UK supermarket shelves will be bare and panic buying will intensify unless critical issues currently threatening British food supply are solved.
The 2 Sisters chief said that the current challenges facing the sector are like no other he has seen in his 27 years as a food entrepreneur.
UK Grocery Retail Sector Under Threat
In a statement, Boparan outlined the array of threats facing the UK grocery retail sector, which go well beyond the current 'pingdemic' issue.
Beginning with Brexit, he believes the UK's departure from the EU has acutely reduced available workers across the food sector.
2 Sisters has seen, on average, 15% labour shortages for its 16,000 workforce this year, the majority of whom work in chicken and ready meal production facilities.
Elsewhere, the food sector has suffered as a result of ingredient inflation, with feed inflation at an eight-year high.
Wheat, soya, and other components have risen by more than 50%, packaging costs are up 20%, while energy costs are up 30%. Some food sector items, such as stainless steel equipment, have doubled in cost.
2 Sisters has seen unprecedented wage inflation across its supply chain in skilled roles, ranging from hatcheries to farms to logistics and delivery.
Boparan also believes the heavy investment required to keep colleagues safe from COVID-19 will continue for at least another 12 months, regardless of the government lifting restrictions.
Rules around self-isolation will continue as before, compounding the labour shortage issue even further.
Major Food Shortages
After outlining the many difficulties facing the sector at the minute, Boparan said he "can see no other outcome than major food shortages in the UK".
He warns that unless urgent support is provided by the UK government, "shelves will be empty, food waste will rocket simply because it cannot be processed, or delivered, and the shortages we saw last year will be peanuts in comparison to what could come."