Haribo sweet shortage threat as deliveries to shops gummed up by lorry driver shortage

Confectionery giant Haribo has warned a shortage of lorry drivers is causing difficulties getting its sweets to shops in the UK.

The German firm, whose products include gummy bears, foamy fried eggs and cola bottles, said it was working to tackle the problem.

It comes after the haulage industry warned of a widespread UK delivery crisis because of a shortage of truck drivers, with an estimated 100,000 vacancies.

The labour shortfall has been blamed by the sector on the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.

A Haribo spokesman said: “As is the case with many manufacturers and retailers throughout the country, we are experiencing challenges with regards to the nationwide driver shortage.

“We are working with partners across the food and drink industry to address and respond to this problem.”

Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, also recently admitted it faced a shortage of drivers for its lorries.

Chief executive Ken Murphy, speaking after the company’s first quarter results, said the company was “working hard” to address its shortfall through recruitment and insisted product availability remained strong.

Haulage leaders warned last week that Britain faced gaps on supermarket shelves this summer and an “unimaginable” collapse of supply chains due to the labour shortfall.

In a letter sent to Boris Johnson, the industry urged the prime minister to intervene and allow access to European labour by introducing temporary worker visas for HGV drivers and adding them to a “shortage occupation list”.

There have been calls in some quarters for the Army to be brought in to help shift goods if short-term access to non-UK labour is not allowed.

However, the government has said under the the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system, firms should look to hire domestic workers instead.

COVID-19 has fuelled the problem after many European drivers living in Britain returned home because of the crisis, while it has also hampered the training and testing of thousands of new recruits.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, recently said: “Retailers are aware of a fall in HGV driver numbers, resulting in minor disruption to some supply chains.

“Supermarkets are working closely with their suppliers to ensure that consumers still have access to the same great selection of goods.

“Government must rapidly increase the number of HGV driving tests taking place while also looking for a longer-term solution to this issue.”

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