By James Davey
LONDON – British baker and fast food chain Greggs said supplies of its famous sausage rolls will be maintained this year despite a crisis in the country’s pork industry that has left over 100,000 pigs facing a cull.
Britain’s food sector has been hit by a labour shortage in recent months, leaving fruit and vegetables unpicked on the ground and pigs backed up on farms because the abattoirs do not have enough workers to process the meat.
Such is the pressure that many farmers and food producers have warned that British consumers are unlikely to enjoy their normal range of food this Christmas, with concerns around the supply of turkeys and the festive favourite ‘pigs in blankets’ growing.
Greggs boss Roger Whiteside told Reuters that while the supply chain problems were affecting different ingredients and products every day, the “sausage roll is safe”.
“That’s one thing we haven’t gone short of,” he said.
Whiteside is a food industry veteran who has overseen a more than 500% share price increase since he took on the top job in 2013, as the bakery chain expanded to become a common sight in most towns around the country.
He said he currently wakes up every morning asking what new item has disappeared in the nation’s creaking supply chains.
“There’s some different thing going on every day, with some different item,” he said.
Whiteside added that Greggs was fortunate as customers have been willing to take a substitute if it runs out of one particular product.
“But that can’t be sustained for ever because customers will start to drift away if they find that you’re continually selling out of things that they expect to find,” he added.