Some food manufacturing may have to move out of the country due to staffing shortages, a retail boss has said.
Businesses were just about keeping their head above water amid shortages of HGV drivers and other supply chain staff such as production workers, Andrew Opie, director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said.
He was asked about the potential for food shortages in the run up to the Christmas period at a special session of the UK Trade and Business Commission on Thursday.
Retailers could be forced to offshore some production to areas like Europe, the director said.
Opie said he was more concerned about shortages in manufacturing and food processing than a shortage of delivery drivers.
He said: “Despite every effort that’s being made by food factories, we cannot recruit enough indigenous people here. They just do not want to do those roles for whatever reason.
“That leaves the government with a choice. Does it want to maintain the level of food manufacturing as it stands at the moment in this country, or does it risk offshoring that production to other countries and then we import those finished goods into the UK?”
“I think the government faces quite a stark choice here about where it wants to put its resources, where it wants to put its immigration policy, and where it wants to put the economy, in terms of the products that are manufactured here in the UK,” he added.