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Supply crunch: Shops suffer crisps shortage after Walkers IT woes

Written by on November 18, 2021

Crisps remain in short supply in almost one in three shops, according to new figures released following production difficulties at major producer Walkers.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that industry data from Kantar showed that 4% of shops visited between 12 and 15 November had no multipacks of crisps for sale.

A total of 26% had only limited supplies.

The shortage is a result of Walkers, owned by PepsiCo, scaling back production at the start of the month following problems with an IT upgrade that has since been fixed.

Christmas dinner
Image: The ONS report also reported an improvement in the availability of frozen turkeys

At that time, the company said it was prioritising production of its most popular flavours including Cheese & Onion, Ready Salted and Salt & Vinegar, as well as Quavers and Wotsits from its snacks range.

The shortages pushed consumers to buy other brands – contributing to an emptying of shelves in a year that has seen supply chains strained more widely by a post-Brexit shortage of truck drivers and COVID-linked global supply disruption.

The woes at Walkers are not expected to run beyond this month, as supplies are tipped to be back to normal well in time for Christmas.

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Crisps were included in the ONS report for the first time.

It also showed an improvement in the availability of frozen turkeys.

The birds – which were the scarcest product last week amid warnings a lack of butchers would restrict Christmas supplies – had no or low availability at 15% of shops.

That was down from 18% and followed industry reassurance, after the ONS released its study last week, that there would be enough turkeys to go round during the festive season though choice was expected to be limited.


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