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As shelves empty in Caithness food shortages now affect one in five

By David G Scott

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New research states that 18 percent of people in Scotland could not buy essential food items – making Scotland the region with the third-highest percentage of people in UK unable to access essential food.

The research, conducted by delivery management experts Urbantz, used new ONS data on goods shortages to analyse what percentage of people in Scotland were unable to access essential food between September 22 and October 3.

Empty shelves in Wick Tesco.
Empty shelves in Wick Tesco.

The study also found that 12 percent of people in Scotland bought less food than usual between the two dates as a result of shortages – double the percentage of Scots who purchased less food in the previous fortnight.

One in four Scottish residents reported that when they went food shopping, items that they needed were not available and they could not find a replacement, while half said that there was less variety of food in the shops than usual.

On a UK-wide level, one in six people struggled to buy essential food items in the last fortnight, and 15 percent of people couldn’t buy fuel. The North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the East of England were the areas worst hit by food shortages, with 21 percent of people in those regions unable to buy essential food.

The South East and the East of England were the regions which struggled most with fuel shortages. In the East of England, nearly a quarter of residents could not buy fuel, and in the South East, 22 percent of people were unable to access it – 57 percent higher than the national average of people unable to purchase fuel.

A spokesperson for Urbantz, which conducted the study, said: “With the country facing significant delivery of food and other essentials, it’s important to look at the experiences of families in the UK, and what they have dealt with in the past two weeks when trying to shop for food, medicine and fuel.

"The impact of the driver shortage is felt across the entire supply chain, all the way through to the last mile – where consumers are faced with fewer choices at checkout and longer delays on their deliveries due to retailers' struggles to keep their warehouses stocked."

Urbantz is a last mile delivery management platform for enterprises designed to respond to the delivery needs of retailers, logistics operators, e-commerce, grocery suppliers and more.

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