Billionaire Ranjit Singh Boparan of the 2 Sisters Food Group and who also featured on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2020, has warned the government that the UK’s food industry is now at “crisis point.”
Boparan who is known as the Chicken King due to his large scale involvement in the poultry trade said the government must act now, or face the “most serious food shortages that this country has seen in over 75 years.”
Boparan warned, “No-one could possibly have predicted that this toxic cocktail would come together at this time.
“It started with the pandemic – and in the last week or so with pingdemic, but since May this year the operating environment has deteriorated so profoundly I can see no other outcome than major food shortages in the UK.
“Supply of chicken and turkey is under threat. Our retail partners and the wider supply chain have worked together closer than ever before to ensure we retain food supply and this is of huge credit to everyone.
“But we are at crisis point.”
The government has introduced emergency measures where by it protect food supplies as a result of the pingdemic, which will allow thousands of workers to avoid isolation, should they be identified as a contact of a Covid case.
Boparan along with his wife Baljinder have a fortune of around £593m said that labour is a real concern as they have 15% among their 16,000 workforce off work.
He said, “The critical labour issue alone means we walk a tightrope every week at the moment.
“We’re just about coping, but I can see if no support is forthcoming – and urgently, from government, then 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.”
Boparan added that Covid reality poses a real challenge and said, “These are unique, era-defining challenges which we started to tackle head on last year.
“But they’ve all come to a head in the past 12 weeks. Clearly these have brought continued and intensive pressure on our business, just like they have elsewhere.”