Labour shortages impacting availability – shopper research 07-09 January 2022

Date : 12 January 2022

Availability issues

Operational labour and HGV driver shortages continue to disrupt food supply chains. Absence rates within the food and consumer goods industry due to the Omicron variant have increased but are largely manageable.

Food and consumer good businesses have been hit hard by recruitment and retention challenges. This is resulting in lower order fulfilment levels than normal, meaning there is an impact on availability of some food and groceries.

The government has committed to a package of support including the issuing of temporary visas for HGV drivers. Register for our FREE Viewpoint webinar: January update for more insight.



Click chart to enlarge

In the latest shopper research conducted for IGD last weekend (07-09 January 2022), more adults interviewed experienced shortages of some food and groceries in-store or online recently.

68% experienced shortages of some food and groceries in-store or online over the weekend, up from 61% just before Christmas. This is the highest level recorded since tracking of this started in July’21.

Similar numbers are stockpiling



Click chart to enlarge

More than a third (38%) have recently felt the need to stock up or purchase more than they normally do compared to 37% just before Christmas. This is still relatively low compared to 50% in January’21 and a high of 64% in April’20.

There is no change in the numbers who say will or might stock up (42%). This is still much lower than the 60% recorded in March’20.

Regional differences



Click chart to enlarge

Availability concerns are highest in the North West (78%) and Northern Ireland (76%).

More than four in ten of those living in Northern Ireland have stocked up recently compared to just 20% in Wales.

Category differences



Click chart to enlarge

The chart above compares the categories being stocked up and the categories that shoppers claim to be in shorter supply.

  • The top categories that are being stocked up remain tins and packaged foods (14%), household paper (13%), medicines (9%), hand sanitizer and cereals (8% each) and frozen meals (7%)
  • Claimed shortages are highest for fresh produce (21%, up from 15% before Christmas), savoury snacks (21% vs 25%). Other categories where claimed shortages are highest include dairy (18% vs 14%) and bakery (19% vs 13%).

Sign up to our bulletin detailing our round up of the latest economic and political news focused on FMCG.

Sign up to our bulletin

Our round-up of the latest economic and political news, focused on FMCGs