ALP Press Release: Labour shortages hitting the food industry hard

9th November 2021

Labour shortages hitting the food industry hard

The latest Association of Labour Providers food industry survey paints a stark picture of the impact of labour shortages on the UK food supply chain:

  • 99% of labour providers were unable to meet their food industry client’s labour requirements during Summer 2021
  • 85% of food growers and manufacturers experienced shortages of lower and unskilled workers, 65% of businesses experienced chronic shortages
  • Over half (52%) of food growers and manufacturers expect to rationalise/reduce their output due to labour shortages with one in six (16%) concerned that they will become unviable
  • 86% of labour providers found the Jobcentre of no help in finding workers and only 3% find government employment support schemes helpful in supporting workers into work.

David Camp, ALP Chief Executive says, “ALP members supply around 75% of food industry temporary labour and all of the edible horticulture scheme seasonal workers in the UK.  The blunt fact is that we need tens of thousands more “Food Heroes” to keep the nation fed and to increase UK production in order to maintain national food security and reduce the environmental impact of food imports. Minister of State Victoria Prentis has committed that the government is “very keen to support the industry through these difficult times….to help them address issues around labour recruitment in the same way it has done with the haulage sector”. This is great news but we need to see collaborative action now to solve immediate shortages and to develop a coherent longer term food industry workforce and skills strategy”.

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