The Christmas turkey is just one of the many festive traditions important to people in the UK.
It is estimated by BritishTurkey.co.uk that around 10 million turkeys are eaten in the UK every year, but an HGV driver shortage cast doubts over if we will be able to sit down and eat in quite the same way this year.
Some supermarkets have seen shortages of certain products and the government is currently finding it difficult to boost the number of HGV drivers that can supply the UK.
So, will there be turkeys for Christmas and which festive food items should you stock up on?
Will there be turkey shortages for Christmas 2021 and when is it safe to buy yours?
The British Poultry Council (BPC) has said there will be ‘definitely’ enough turkeys for Christmas in 2021.
The government relaxed visa rules in September to encourage skilled foreign workers to help the poultry industry process the birds.
Of the 5,500 visas that were made available, it is believed that between 2,500 and 3,000 have been taken up.
Head of the BPC, Richard Griffiths, said: “We’ve been able to streamline products and reduce the variety, so that helps with the overall volume. There will be a focus on whole birds and very simple crowns and roasts.”
It is generally safe to freeze your turkey from now in preparation for Christmas, though any sort of freezer malfunction and the turkey should be thrown out.
Freeze it between one to two days of purchase and before the sell by date, however.
Fresh turkeys stored in the fridge should be bought one to two days before the big day.
What other food shortages are likely for Christmas this year?
Supermarket chiefs have warned of the possibility of shortages over the Christmas period.
Tesco chairman John Allan, said: “Normally the supermarket industry would start building stocks from now in readiness for Christmas. Longer-life products first, things like Christmas puddings and so on, shorter-life products, like fresh turkeys, very late in the day.”
Traditional Christmas products could face shortages as a result, like pigs in blankets and vegetables.
A spokeswoman for the British Meat Processors Association said shortages are a possibility.
“Given the current workforce shortages, meat companies are finding it difficult to see how they’ll dig themselves out of this,” she said.
“Part of the issue is that it’s more difficult to time the supply of pigs in the same way that you can for Christmas turkeys, so production of Christmas favourites like pigs in blankets has to be done well in advance, and normally should have started at the beginning of July.”
The lack of drivers is also unhelpful for the delivery of Christmas gifts and rubbish collection.