SUPERMARKET food shortages are going to get worse in the coming months, according to industry experts.

People across Scotland the rest of the UK have been reporting gaps on store shelves in recent weeks.

The UK Government has been urged to take action to tackle the HGV driver shortage, which alongside Brexit challenges and some Covid issues has been largely responsible for the problems.

READ MORE: Brexit-fuelled food crisis deepens for Scots as shelves empty and price increases loom

According to Shane Brennan, the chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation, shortages could get worse at Christmas time.

“It’s been obscured by the pingdemic but that was the superficial problem rather than the ongoing problem – that we are chronically short of the drivers we need at every stage of the supply chain,” he told The Guardian.

“We’ve seen a massive exodus of non-UK labour during the pandemic and we don’t know if they are able to come back.”

Meanwhile the chief executive of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, James Bielby, said problems sourcing aluminium would mean soft drinks and beer could become scarce on shelves, while a shortage of EU workers in agriculture will affect availability of fresh produce.

He warned: “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

“Structural challenges remain and they’ll remain as long as there’s no intervention from government.”

The National:

Supermarkets say there has been only “minor disruption” to the UK’s supply chains. At the same time Andrew Opie, the British Retail Consortium’s director of food and sustainability, has called for the Government to rapidly increase the number of HGV driving tests and provide more visas for EU drivers.

Some companies, including Tesco, are now offering financial incentives to get more HGV drivers on the roads. But the Road Haulage Association said the real challenge is in recruiting and training new drivers.

The National reported at the weekend that some supermarkets are telling staff to “overface” shelves by moving sparse goods to the front to give the appearance of fullness.

There are also fears that with meat-processing factories unable to replace the EU staff who have left after Brexit, meat and fish costs could increase significantly.