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Christmas is saved: There will 'definitely' be turkeys for Dec 25

Christmas dinner is saved: There will ‘definitely’ be enough turkeys for Dec 25, confirm British Poultry Council as supermarkets reassure that ‘plenty of food’ will be in stock – but ports boss warns supply crisis will last until 2023

  • The British Poultry Council said they had enough turkeys to ‘get us over the line’
  • But the industry leaders warned shoppers they would have less choice this year
  • It said there would be ‘bird for everyone who wants one’ but mostly ‘whole birds’
  • Supermarkets echoed the comments saying Christmas dinners won’t be ruined
  • But the UK’s biggest ports operator warned supply chain crisis will last to 2023

Britons will be able to have turkey for Christmas dinner despite supply fears and a shortage of workers.

The British Poultry Council said they had enough to ‘get us over the line’ but warned shoppers would have less choice this year.

It said there would be ‘a bird for everyone who wants one’ but they will be mostly ‘whole birds’ and ‘very simply crowns and roasts’.

Supermarkets echoed the industry body’s comments saying Christmas dinners will not be ruined next month.

Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer reassured customers that their food and drink needs will be met to as panic buying threatened to result in shortages.

But it comes as the boss of Britain’s biggest ports operator warned the supply chain crisis could last well into 2023.

They said due to chose at shipping firms and ports around the world it will ‘a very long time to turn it around’.

The British Poultry Council said enough temporary workers from the European Union had been let into the UK to stem labour shortages threatening turkey numbers.

The British Poultry Council said they had enough to ‘get us over the line’ but warned shoppers would have less choice this year

It comes as the boss of Britain’s biggest ports operator warned the supply chain crisis could last well into 2023 (pictured, Southampton port)

BPC chief Richard Griffiths told the BBC: ‘It’ll get us over the line. We’ve been able to streamline products and reduce the variety, so that helps with the overall volume.’

Mr Griffiths added: ‘There will be a focus on whole birds and very simple crowns and roasts.’

About half of the visas freed up for foreign workers to come to fill in gaps over Christmas have been taken up.

There were hopes thousands would flood in to help process and package the birds ready for the holidays.

The government relaxed immigration rules in September to allow up to 5,500 people to fly in but the BPC believes as few as 2,500 have been grabbed.

Mr Griffiths said due to fewer birds being reared and producers managing to source their own seasonal workers Christmas will not be heavily affected.

Shoppers spent £6million more on frozen turkeys last month than the same time a year earlier, Kantar data found.

The BPC said there would be ‘a bird for everyone who wants one’ but they will be mostly ‘whole birds’ and ‘very simply crowns and roasts’

Meanwhile supermarkets said Christmas dinners will not  suffer from the supply chain crisis as some promised there will be plenty of festive stock.

Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer reassured customers their food and drink needs will be met to as panic buying threatened to result in shortages.

Simon Roberts, the Sainsbury’s CEO, penned customers a letter on the company’s site saying the supermarket will have ‘plenty of food’ for everyone.

He wrote: ‘Following reports that some popular products will be hard to find this Christmas, I want to let you know we’re working flat out to make it a Christmas to remember.

‘I also want to reassure you that there will be plenty of food and that we are confident that even if the exact product you are looking for isn’t available, there will be a good alternative.

‘Longer-life products such as Christmas cakes and puddings, mince pies, nuts and cranberry sauce are already available.’

Mr Roberts added Sainsbury’s stores will be getting regular deliveries right up until Christmas Eve and ‘expect expect to sell more fresh turkeys this year than ever before’.

Frozen turkeys are already in stores but fresh ones will arrive on December 19. 

Supermarkets said Christmas dinners will not suffer from the supply chain crisis as some promised there will be plenty of festive stock (file photo)

Fresh party food is set to arrive in stores from the middle of this month, and the letter promised shelves will be stocked with ‘fresh festive products’ like pigs in blankets from December 1.

He also wrote: ‘We know how much we all missed being able to spend time with our families and loved ones last year and that we all want to make this Christmas even more special.’

Earlier this week Marks & Spencer’s CEO Steve Rowe also said the retailer is set to ‘deliver a great Christmas for our customers’, the Grocer reported.

He also reassured buyers that there won’t be ‘any shortages of pigs in blankets at Marks & Spencer at all’.

A spokesman for the John Lewis and Waitrose partnership also told the Express it is ‘confident’ about its ability to ‘provide our customers with everything they need’ for the festive period.

Simon Roberts, the Sainsbury’s CEO, penned customers a letter on the company’s site saying the supermarket will have ‘plenty of food’ for everyone 

The John Lewis and Waitrose partnership is ‘confident’ it’ll be able to tend to all its customers’ festive needs 

‘We are working closely with our suppliers and are very confident we’ll have a fantastic array of products too,’ they added.

But in a warning the crisis is far from over, the boss of Britain’s biggest ports operator said it will likely continue until 2023.

Henrik Pedersen, chief executive of Associated British Ports (ABP), said he would be ‘positively surprised’ if it ended before then.

He told the Times: ‘When you have congested container ports around the world, it takes a very long time to turn it around.

‘We have a shortage of truck drivers in the UK, and in other countries, too, so it [the problem] is in the shipping leg and the road leg.’

He said ABP’s ports were still packed with empty containers because Asian ports would not take them back amid their own storage problems.

Meanwhile Primark said it is expecting disruption to continue into 2023 as Ikea predicted it would be affected for months.

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