Shortages in Britain?

I’m seeing a lot of articles about current (and future) shortages in Britain, with both Brexit and the pandemic shouldering the blame. What I read seems indicate it’s a transportation issue more than anything else.

Is this true? Are the Brits here seeing this, or are the media covering the extremes? (If it is possible to discuss this without descending into political mud-slinging, that would be brilliant.)


Yes, it is true.

As specific examples, we have not been able to buy our usual brand of instant coffee for at least a couple of weeks. There’s been a similar situation at our normal supermarket with regard to sparkling water - not even the expensive bottles left on the shelves, let alone the very cheap 2 ltr “own label” ones we usually buy.

I’m sorry but I am not going to get into further discussion as it is, inherently, a political discussion (as a previous mention of staff shortages quickly evidenced).

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FWIW, we are seeing shortages as well. I can’t find my usual store-brand lemonade, I had to go to a drug store (a.k.a. chemist’s) to get my oven cleaner after not finding it for six months), and there are signs in many sections of the store apologizing for shortages, though I am not seeing lots of empty shelves. I.e., it’s not that all bottled beverages are unavailable, but just some flavors. Oddly, in some cases this supposedly is due to a shortage of packaging materials rather than the actual product.

I would not attribute any of this to politics per se, keeping in mind that the pandemic has become politicized here more than many other places. So for example, meat shortages (now mostly over, though prices are up) were due to packing plants closing down because of COVID-19.

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  1. I’m absolutely seeing it in a variety of ways. Definitely more about delays and not being able to count on certain items being present.
  2. It is absolutely down to Brexit (and not helped by Covid-- but the teething problems of sourcing did get under control, now we have this hatefulness.
  3. Of course it’s political. Then again, imo everything is political because everything we do and consume inhabits the social and economic world that is shaped not only by custom, but policy.
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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold