Supermarket giants criticised for using cardboard images to hide empty shelves amid food shortage

Amid the current national food shortage, supermarkets across the UK have come under fire for using cardboard images to ‘disguise’ empty shelves.

Shoppers across the UK have taken to social media to share photographs of supermarket giants Tesco and Sainsbury’s apparent attempts to improve the appearance of bare shelves as a shortage of lorry drivers continues to affect supply chains.

Labour shortages caused by new Brexit immigration rules affecting HGV drivers and the effects of the pandemic have both contributed to the disruption to supplies.

The shortage of HGV drivers has caused backlogs at UK ports meaning that some shipping containers have not been able to be emptied and removed in time for new deliveries.


Currently, there is an estimated shortfall of around 100,000 lorry drivers, while rising energy costs have also added to the cost of food production and logistics.

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said that alternative products are available in-store where there are sold-out ranges.

The spokesman said: “Our colleagues and suppliers are working hard to make sure customers can find everything they need when they shop with us.

“Availability in some product categories may vary but alternatives are available and stores continue to receive deliveries daily.”

The UK Government has introduced 800 temporary visas for foreign butchers and 5,500 visas for poultry workers to come to the UK after labour shortages sparked fears that animals could not be processed in time for the flux of Christmas when people purchase turkeys, however the Government have said that they are “confident” that by the festive season there will be produce available.


The ONS Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, of 4,004 people, found that the proportion of adults struggling to buy food and medicine remained roughly the same as it was a fortnight ago.

About one in six adults (16 per cent) reported they had not been able to buy essential food items because they were not available.

The proportion unable to buy non-essential food items remained at 23 per cent.

The same proportion of adults reported waiting longer for prescriptions (13 per cent) or having to go to more pharmacies to find what they needed (4 per cent).

Overall, 47 per cent said everything they needed had been available to buy – a 10 percentage point fall from two weeks ago.


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