Meat Industry Brexit Impact Report

British Meat Processors Association
British Meat Processors Association
Pig in Blanket on a Christmas tree

Spiralling labour shortages threaten Christmas food supplies

Staff and skills shortages continue to hamper food production, and many meat companies are already around six weeks behind their Christmas production schedules. It now looks inevitable that there will be a shortage of the more complicated lines like pigs in blankets and gammon roasts. Given the current workforce shortages, meat companies are finding it difficult to see how they’ll dig themselves out of this.

Part of the issue is that it’s more difficult to time the supply of pigs in the same way that you can for Christmas turkeys, so production of Christmas favourites like pigs in blankets has to be done well in advance, and normally should have started at the beginning of July.

Adding to the pressure of staff shortages, which are already reaching 15% and above, is the new problem of large retailers paying a sign-on bonus of between £2000 and £5000 per person to poach drivers from their own suppliers. This means that manufacturers are now struggling to move finished goods to retail distribution centres and make deliveries of goods and ingredients to manufacturing sites.

To add insult to injury, those same retailers are then charging a penalty to their suppliers for failure to deliver. This is the definition of a vicious circle and the problem will continue to spiral until something changes. That ‘something’ must be an injection of new workers – not in two or three month’s time, but now – which the Government has in its power to bring about by temporarily relaxing visa requirements for migrant workers.

About BMPA

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) is the leading trade association for the meat and meat products industry in the UK.

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MP Paul Blomfield didn’t mince his words in a recent speech. He said Govt. is ignoring UK industry and using the NI Protocol to pick a political fight with the EU.
He also highlighted the practical approach they could take, which BMPA has been advocating.
https://bit.ly/3bA8fBh

Defra has suspended a rule change until 13 Dec that would've instantly rendered a large amount of product ineligible for export.
BMPA is pressing them to reverse their decision or at least explain why it's necessary to add this extra layer of bureaucracy.
https://bit.ly/3R3tlbA

New EFRA Chair Robert Goodwill explained to BBC Radio the unique recruitment challenges that meat companies face, particularly at a time of record low unemployment.
He said to Govt. "you just don't get it" and said their response is "wholly inadequate".
https://bit.ly/3AckdLD