UK stores struggle to find a single crisp on shelves

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UK stores struggle to find a single crisp on shelves

Britain's crisp shortage has begun to ease but supplies on shelves remain low, with a quarter of shops struggling to find stock.

Multipack crisps were the lowest in availability, with 29 per cent of stores recorded as having none or low supplies between November 19 and 22. The data was collected by Kantar Public in the course of 270 shop visits.

The total of shops where there were no products was down from 33 per cent a week ago, but crisps were still the hardest-to-find product on the shelves.

The items that were the most affected were ibuprofen, sparkling water and frozen turkeys. There were also shortages of fresh pork and chicken, with 4 per cent and 2 per cent of shops reporting zero availability. Of all the items monitored, 10 per cent of stores had availability classified as low as 2 per cent or none at 8 per cent, while 54 per cent had high levels of stock.

After problems with an IT systems update, Walkers, the UK's largest crisp maker, had to reduce production at the beginning of November. The company said its factories were not likely to increase output to normal levels until the end of the month.

The group prioritized the production of popular flavours such as ready salted, cheese and onion and salt and vinegar, but the shortage forced consumers to seek alternatives, which further depleted overall stocks. The weight for crisps in its basket of goods has risen to 3.12 this year from 2.64 last year, according to the ONS.

The November figure will reflect the impact of the crisp shortage and headline inflation is at 4.2 per cent. Inflationary pressure will be added to households due to rising energy prices, national insurance contributions and housing costs.

The ONS reported this month that 14 per cent of businesses reported a shortage of workers. The food services and accomodation industries are particularly hard hit by the shortage due to the Brexit, with 38 per cent of businesses struggling to find workers.

The cost of staff can be passed on to consumers because of the lack of staff.