The UK is in the grips of a global supply chain disaster, leading to empty shelves for several festive necessities such as booze, crisps and worryingly painkillers.

Recent research from ONS has found that 17 percent of Brits have reported being unable to buy essential food items this year, meaning that approximately 8.9 million consumers have been unable to buy food items₁.

The national crisis is also hitting several UK regions harder, with data from In Your Area revealing that East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber and the North East have the worst food shortages in the entire UK₂.

The research reports that more than one in five people in those regions were unable to buy essential food items from their local stores.  

High street supermarkets are under pressure to fill shelves and shoppers are feeling the urgency to buy things in advance to ensure that Christmas 2021 isn’t a bleak midwinter.

Online surplus food retailer, Approved Food*, is urging Brits to shop savvily this Christmas to avoid facing a disastrous Christmas. The retailer has shared a number of tips on how to buy your Christmas food essentials earlier than planned:

  1. Don’t be afraid of buying foods close to their ‘best before’ date. These dates are arbitrary and are different from ‘use by’ dates. The misconception is that you can’t eat food after the best before date has passed, but that’s just a recommendation – a level of quality is guaranteed until that date, but the food is still perfectly safe to eat afterwards. Many discount retailers sell food close to their best before dates at reduced prices so not only can you stock up in advance but bag a bargain too.
  • Stock up your store cupboard essentials which have a longer shelf life – smaller yet more traditional items, such as cranberry sauce, bread sauce, mince pies or Christmas puddings don’t need refrigerating. Make sure you net these items first as they have natural longevity and will prevent you from facing disappointment on Christmas Eve.
  • Shop local – Often the bigger supermarkets, which rely on global supply chains, are hit by shortages the hardest. By shopping locally, you will not only give yourself the best chance at getting what you need more easily, such as locally grown vegetables or meat, but you will also reduce the pressures on bigger retailers as well.
  • Make space in the freezer – typically you can freeze meat, such as turkey, for up to four months[i], so why not make the purchase now? By sacrificing a freezer shelf or two in the short term, you can ensure that your turkey dinner and trimmings are sorted nice and early, helping you avoid any stress when it comes to ordering closer to December.

Discussing the food shortage issue in the UK, Andy Needham, MD at Approved Food, commented: “To avoid panic buying and disappointment, we urge shoppers to start as early as possible piecing together their ‘big shop’ for Christmas. By starting sooner rather than later, there’s plenty of time to get organised and plan where you are going to get everything, bit by bit, which will lead to a less stressful festive season.

“The fallout from the pandemic and Brexit has been clear for all to see and is having a significant impact on the availability of skilled drivers and products, meaning that supply chain challenges will continue to be felt by everyone, particularly in the lead up to Christmas as demand begins to surge.”

For more information on the food items available at Approved Food, visit:

  1. [i]