Sweets giant Haribo has revealed it is struggling to get stocks to stores across the UK because of a shortage of lorry drivers.
The German confectionery business, responsible for Starmix and Tangfastics, 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.”
Retailers and suppliers are struggling to find enough haulage drivers in the UK, with experts warning a “perfect storm” is brewing due to several factors hitting the sector.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) believes there is currently a shortfall of about 60,000 drivers due to around 30,000 HGV driving tests not taking place last year due to the pandemic.
Typically, 72,000 candidates train to become HGV drivers, with 40,000 passing. But only 15,000 were able to complete training last year, the organisation said.
The RHA has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning many drivers also returned to their country of origin during extended periods of lockdown and restricted travel, with the vast majority not returning.
He was also quizzed on the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday this week.
Brexit is also playing a part in the shortage, according to the RHA, with many drivers unsure of their rights to work in the UK.
Retailers have been complaining for months over the issues, including Tesco and Currys PC World acknowledging the impact.
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.”
By Simon Neville