Families might not be able to get hold of a turkey this Christmas as supermarkets face a “tidal wave of rising costs”, the head of Waitrose has said.
Chief executive James Bailey claimed that a shortfall of workers and drivers meant that increases in food prices were “completely unavoidable”.
According to The Times, analysts believe grocery inflation could reach five per cent.
Waitrose’s meat suppliers believe that up to half of their butchers had returned to eastern Europe for good.
“They cannot produce the orders that they’re being asked for at the moment which is manageable for now,” Bailey said.
“But when you get towards Christmas and the volume doubles it’s not manageable.”
The British Poultry Council said that one in six jobs is unfilled because of EU workers returning home.
Last week, Nando’s was forced to shut around 50 restaurants after a lack of lorry drivers created a nationwide chicken shortage.
“The UK supply chain is having a bit of a ‘mare right now,” it said in a tweet.
Waitrose, along with Tesco, Asda and Marks & Spencer, is hoping to plug staff shortfalls by offering new drivers four-figure bonuses.