Supermarkets urge shoppers to 'stock up early for Christmas' due to shortages

20 September 2021, 08:30 | Updated: 20 September 2021, 08:42

Have you noticed Christmas stock in your local supermarket?
Have you noticed Christmas stock in your local supermarket? Picture: Alamy
Heart reporter

By Heart reporter

You might have noticed that Christmas has come (very) early in some shops this year - and it's because retail bosses are concerned about supply issues

Supermarkets have released their Christmas stock months earlier than usual this year, as supply chain issues spark fears there could be shortages.

Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic have already sparked a shortage in HGV drivers and food plant workers, but a new issue is comes from CO2 production plants running out of the essential gas.

Due to soaring gas prices, two fertiliser plants in the north of England have had to halt production, meaning the UK is on the cusp of running out of gas.

Carbon dioxide is vital for preserving and packing food, putting the 'bubbles' in fizzy drinks like cola and beer, and it is also used to stun animals at slaughterhouses before they are killed.

The British Meat Processors Association boss Nick Allen told The Sun that the industry can carry on for less than two weeks before CO2 stocks run out and no meat will be available to buy.

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Christmas food is being stocked across the UK (file photo)
Christmas food is being stocked across the UK (file photo). Picture: Alamy

He said: “Everyone is outraged these fertiliser plants can shut down without warning and take something so essential to the supply chain off-stream just like that.”

The boss of Bernard Matthews, the UK's largest poultry supplier has even warned that the looming meat crisis could mean that "Christmas dinner is cancelled."

In a bid to stop panic buying later down the line - and to prevent disappointment - shoppers across the UK have noticed that supermarkets have started releasing festive products.

Some have even placed signs encouraging people to "stock up early".

Advent calendars, Christmas selection boxes, festive biscuit and chocolate boxes, and other treats are all available to buy at major supermarkets including Tesco, Waitrose and Asda.

Unsurprisingly, some shoppers haven't seen the early arrival of festive goods as helpful - rather that shops are trying to squeeze more money from them.

People fumed on Twitter: "Christmas has landed at Asda. It's the middle of September. We've only just finished with Summer, and Halloween is a month and a half away"; and "Tesco last Sunday - I reckon they've put out the Christmas stock early to cover the gaps on the shelves from other short deliveries. And where's the Halloween stuff?"

Another posted: "100 days to Christmas & festive products in supermarkets. Give me a break ⁦@Tesco⁩ ⁦@sainsburys⁩ ⁦@marksandspencer⁩ ⁦@AldiUK⁩ you want us to part with hard earned cash in SEPTEMBER."

While Boris Johnson has warned that we could be seeing "empty shelves" for months, MP Alok Sharma tried to assure Brits that there was no crisis.

He told Sky News: "The clear message that is coming out of this is that there is no immediate concern in terms of supply, we don't see any risks going into the winter. People should be confident that the supplies will be there and that we will be protecting them in terms of price rises."