Shoppers with a craving for crisps have been left empty-handed this month, as official data reveals the scale of shortages.
According to data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday, multipack crisps were the trickiest item to get hold of in the country.
Shelf availability was lowest for the products, with almost one third (29 per cent) of the item’s availability marked as “none” or “low”.
The research was collected between 12 and 15 November by Kantar Public, and looked at 126 stores across the country.
The shortages come as a bungled computer upgrade caused chaos for the world’s biggest crisp factory, Walkers. The glitch forced the firm to slow production.
PepsiCo, the US giant behind the crisp producer, called on retailers to not include its products in promotions earlier this month, to ensure shops were stocked.
Walkers also opted to slow the production of “more niche” varieties of crisps, in a bid to prioritise production of beloved staples such as salt and vinegar. It has also tried to prioritise the production of popular brands including Quavers and Wotsits.
Speaking earlier this month, a Walkers spokesperson explained: “A recent IT system upgrade has disrupted the supply of some of our products. Our sites are still making crisps and snacks but at a reduced scale.
“We’re doing everything we can to increase production and get people’s favourites back on shelves. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused.”
Retailers and food outlets have been battered by supply chain difficulties in the past few months, suffering shortages of products. Shortages have ranged from Greggs’ vegan sausage rolls to Nando’s chicken, in the past few weeks.
Companies have struggled amid a shortage of HGV drivers, in the wake of the pandemic and Brexit.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, urged crisps fans not to panic-buy and to be “be considerate of their fellow shoppers” and buy as they would do normally.
He added: “The HGV driver shortage has already led to some gaps on shelves, and the situation may become more challenging in the run up to Christmas.
“Retailers are doing everything they can to protect their customers, prioritising the food and other products necessary for everyone to make the most of the festive season.
“The retail industry has been calling for action on labour shortages for some time and government needs to find a long-term solution to the shortages being seen throughout the supply chain, particularly on HGV drivers.”