'An escalating crisis!' Fresh produce left to rot and prices to rise amid lorry driver shortage

Some goods are starting to vanish from shops because of a shortfall of as many as 65,000 HGV drivers.

Gaps are starting to appear on supermarket shelves because of a “desperate shortage” of lorry drivers – a problem that will likely lead stores to raise food prices.


Piles of fresh produce are going to landfill and some goods are starting to vanish from shops because of a shortfall of as many as 65,000 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers.


The “escalating crisis” stands to affect supplies of goods from fruit and vegetables to milk and cheese, the boss of a leading produce company has warned.


Brexit, which prompted thousands of EU lorry drivers to leave the UK, the introduction of IR35 tax changes in April, which has driven up costs, and a lack of driver training and tests during the pandemic has led to “a desperate shortage of lorry drivers”, said Tim O’Malley, managing director of Nationwide Produce.


“It’s an escalating crisis… deliveries are not going to supermarkets. Produce is prepared, packed, ready to go, and not being delivered.”


“Hundreds of loads of produce a day” are being “rolled” – their delivery to stores being delayed by a day or more, Mr O’Malley added.