Brits’ Christmas panic buying has already sparked a surge in turkey sales as concerns grow about supply over the festive period.
The number of frozen fowl has increased by more than 400 per cent, one leading supermarket has reported.
It comes as food experts told shoppers they should buy Christmas dinner in advance and store it in the freezer if they want to avoid going without.
Supermarket chain Iceland claim sales of frozen turkeys have surged 409 per cent compared to the same time last year.
The Telegraph report that customers are “concerned about food supply” – and that with just over 12 weeks to go, they are not willing to wait around.
Chief Executive of the British Frozen Food Federation Richard Harrow said some customers have been “permanently converted” to buying frozen.
He said: “This combined with current concerns about food supply means many people will be opting for frozen this Christmas.”
Oliver Dowden said ensuring the country had poultry in place was a priority as frustration grows.
The government softened its hard line on immigration last weekend.
The Conservative chair hopes that the army of workers will be brought in on temporary visas will “save Christmas”.
However, food and haulage industry leaders say the plans are ambitious, despite vows to make sure there is no dark cloud over the festive period
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Dowden accepted there were supply chain problems across the world due to lorry driver shortages.
But said issues with the production and distribution of turkeys were being addressed.
“We will make sure that people have their turkeys for Christmas,” he said.
“I know that for the Environment Secretary George Eustice, this is absolutely top of his list.
“We are not unique in the UK in this. If you look across Poland, the US, other countries, there are shortages of drivers – that’s to do with a range of factors.”
Experts encouraged shoppers to buy Christmas dinners well in advance.
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James Withers, of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “Ultimately, now I think we have just run out of time.
“I don’t think there is anything that can be done now to get the Christmas trade where it should be.
“That’s despite warnings being sounded since the summer of the scale of the potential labour shortage we might face.”