Billionaire owner of the 2 Sisters Group has warned the “pingdemic” is hitting the food industry hard and the sector is suffering the “perfect storm.”
Ranjit Singh Boparan who is also known as the Chicken King and is the largest poultry supplier in the UK has warned that not only is there a shortage of staff in the food sector there are also transport issues.
Speaking to Ian King Live on Sky News Boparan said, “Somebody has to speak up, and with a lot of factors whether it be the pingdemic, whether it be the labour shortage, COVID, Brexit, self-isolation, transport issues.
“What we’re facing today is a perfect storm, and a cocktail of issues, which is masking a number of issues, which I believe the pingdemic is, is covering.”
The Chicken King added, “A shortage of drivers is just one one element of the supply chain, a very important element which is being made very public.
“But if we’re short of labour on the farms, we’re not going to get the product. If we manage to get it from the farms to the factories and we’re short of labour there, we’re not going to get it to the depots.
“If we do manage to get to the depots and they can’t get the staff there, they’re not going to get onto lorries. If we are short of drivers, and they can’t get to the supermarket shelves, that’s another problem.
“If you haven’t got the people in the supermarket to put the product on the shelves…
“You just think about all the supply chain, you just need one element not to work and at the moment there’s several elements that are not working.”
Boparan warned the government and said, “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.”
He added, “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.”